BAHRAIN could present a joint bid with three other GCC states to host either the 2046 or 2050 FIFA World Cup Finals and join the growing football frenzy gripping the region.

A proposal to conduct a government study on its potential has been presented by Southern Municipal Council chairman Abdulla Abdullatif.

He believes that bidding to jointly-host such a prestigious event would attract positive global attention and, if successful, boost tourism and provide other investment rewards.

“We have all what it takes to stage a successful World Cup,” said Mr Abdullatif.

“A joint bid with Kuwait, Oman and the UAE may interest FIFA with Qatar and Saudi Arabia having already shown the way forward.”

Mr Abdullatif said that the 2022 contest hosted by Qatar had ‘massively transformed’ our neighbouring country into a global sporting juggernaut with it also successfully stepping in to stage the 2023 Asian Cup.

Saudi Arabia will also benefit from similar good fortune when it hosts the 2034 World Cup Finals.

Current and future investment in sport and related facilities in Bahrain may also prove to be a vital component to any official bid.

Works Minister Ibrahim Al Hawaj, for example, recently told MPs that the new sports city in Sakhir was on the drawing board. He revealed that consultants have completed detailed drawings and were currently working on a final version, alongside tender requirements. Work on the project could be completed within 36 months, once contractual agreements were in place.

Joint bids to host major global sporting events have become prevalent in recent years. The 2026 World Cup Finals will be staged by the US, Mexico and Canada, for example, and the 2030 finals hosted across Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

“As a combined GCC unit we will be stronger at securing the rights to host the event because united resources through a joint bid appeal more to FIFA,” Mr Abdullatif added. “There are future unrelated projects that would make our bid interesting too, such as the Bahrain Metro or GCC-wide railway projects.”

Sakhir, Zallaq and Safra councillor Hamad Al Zoubi said the proposal was ambitious and possible. “GCC states together could easily win the honour of hosting the 2046 or 2050 World Cup Finals,” he believes. “Having plans to host the event means the country would see even more development and investments.

“Our people are the country’s biggest asset and visitors want to come here.”

Bahrain already successfully hosts a season opening Formula 1 race, international equine events and a DPI World Golf tournament but becoming a World Cup Finals destination would be a dream come true for sport enthusiasts.


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