The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI), Indonesian soccer’s governing body, has announced it is pulling out of its bid to host the 2034 men’s soccer World Cup, leaving the path open for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to win the right to host.

In a statement yesterday (October 18), the PSSI announced that it would instead be putting its support behind the Saudi bid.

The statement from PSSI president Eric Thohir added that Indonesia would continue to bid for the next World Cup that would be allocated to the Asia region in the future.

The news comes just over a week after it had been revealed that the PSSI had been in talks with its Australian counterpart over the potential for a joint-hosting bid for the 2034 tournament, alongside Malaysia and Singapore.

FIFA had called for nations in Asia and Oceania to bid for the rights to the tournament, after announcing that the inter-continental bid from Morocco, Spain and Portugal had been given the rights to the 2030 edition.

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia confirmed its bid for the 2034 World Cup earlier this month (October 11).

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Speaking at the Leaders conference in London (October 18), Bader Alkadi, vice minister at the Saudi ministry of sports, stated: “Saudi is aiming to bid for the hosting the World Cup in 2034. Definitely.”

He continued: “We're proud of what the Qataris have done in delivering an excellent [2022] World Cup, definitely, we want to have this at home, and we want to ensure that we develop our country to host a high-standard event.”

The kingdom has been increasing its influence in the soccer world as of late, with the country set to host the 2023 Club World Cup and the 2027 AFC Asia Cup among others.  

Alkadi used the country’s World Cup bid as evidence that the country is not just quickly buying a stake in the football world for short-term gain, saying: “If that was a short term, something that hits and run we would not have been for hosting the World Cup.”