08 February 2020 American Politico.com reporter Ali Walker exclusively reported that Saudi Arabia proposed that if Greece and Egypt agree to cooperate with oil resources
The rich Gulf heavyweights teamed up to jointly bid for the 2030 Soccer World Cup, with Saudi Arabia set to pay for new stadiums in both countries.
In exchange, under the proposed deal, Saudi Arabia would host three-quarters of the World Cup.
The dramatic proposal was discussed in a private conversation between Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the summer of 2022, according to a senior official familiar with the matter.
Saudi Arabia is willing to cover construction costs that could be worth billions of euros.
Another senior official with knowledge of the private discussions told Politico that Saudi Arabia is prepared to “cover the full cost” of hosting Greece and Egypt, but that 75% of the 48-team (possibly expanded) mega-event itself will be played in Gulf states.
In an attempt to convince members of world football’s governing body, FIFA, of the merits of a Saudi-led bid, the proposed World Cup bid would be held on three continents to achieve geographical balance.
And only eight years after Qatar hosted the 2022 World Cup, the Middle East’s bid to host the World Cup is unlikely to succeed.
Saudi Arabia’s main competitors are Spain, Portugal and Ukraine from Europe, and Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile from South America.
Politico.com reached out to the governments of the three countries for comment.
The Greek and Saudi governments declined to comment, and the Egyptian government did not respond to Politico.com’s request.
FIFA also declined to comment.