Saudi Arabia also interested in hosting Women’s World Cup, says team director

Saudi Arabia Also Interested In Hosting Women’s World Cup, Says Team Director
Saudi Arabia has not yet been confirmed as host of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2026, but is in the running for that tournament alongside Australia.
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Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter

The technical director of the Saudi Arabian women’s team has expressed a desire to host the Women’s World Cup in the country in 2035.

The Middle Eastern kingdom has already lodged a formal bid to host the 2034 men’s World Cup, and Monika Staab hopes Saudi ambitions can also extend to hosting the women’s event the year after.


“I believe it’s a bright future (for the women’s and girls’ game in Saudi Arabia),” she said at the Leaders Week conference at Twickenham.

“I told (the sport’s administrators) it takes time to go to the World Cup. (In) 2035 (sic), I know they want to host the men’s World Cup.

“Why not hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2035?

“They are going to have the AFC competition, hosting in 2026, so we’re now getting a team ready to be at least competing at that level.”


Saudi Arabia has not yet been confirmed as host of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2026, but is in the running for that tournament alongside Australia.

A bid for the Women’s World Cup would be surprising and audacious given Saudi Arabia’s confirmed interest in the men’s finals.

The criminalisation of same-sex relationships in Saudi Arabia could also be a major stumbling block to a Women’s World Cup in the country, as many of its stars – unlike in the men’s game – are very open about their homosexuality.

There was a major controversy last year over the ‘Visit Saudi’ campaign being considered as a sponsor for the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, a plan which was ultimately dropped.


FIFA has been contacted for comment on Staab’s remarks.

It is possible any Saudi bid could be up against England for the right to host the 2035 finals.

Football Association chair Debbie Hewitt told The Times in May that the governing body was considering a bid for the 2031 tournament.

However, if the joint Germany-Netherlands-Belgium bid for 2027 is successful, then the FA would have to look at delaying until 2035 because of the continental rotation of hosting.


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and his predecessor Liz Truss, both expressed their support for an English Women’s World Cup bid when they were standing for the Conservative Party leadership in the summer of 2022.

The drafting in of star names to the men’s Saudi Pro League proved to be one of the big football stories of the summer.

Pro League board member Peter Hutton revealed at Leaders Week that the organisation is utilising the massive social media following of some of its superstars as a new way to publish content linked to the league, in order to drive up revenue.

“The social media part of it is huge, because you look at the biggest guy on social media in terms of Instagram followers is (Cristiano) Ronaldo,” Hutton said.


“You look at (Karim) Benzema’s following. These guys have huge influence.

“And what we’ve been able to do, because there wasn’t a great broadcast legacy, is change the rules and say more footage can go to the players, the players can publish the story.

“That means you change your brand much faster because you’re putting out the content in a place where people are naturally going to see it, and not just football obsessives but to a wider audience as well.

“Bringing in those big-name players doesn’t just bring the quality on the pitch, it also brings the reach off the pitch.”

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