Dezeen Magazine

Trojena ski resort at Neom could host World Cup

Neom touted as host for 2034 World Cup

Saudi Arabia has begun planning a bid to host the football World Cup in 2034, with the Neom mega-development in the northeast of the country proposed as one of the venues.

According to reports in the Times newspaper, the country has abandoned its plans to co-host in 2030 with Egypt and Greece and will now focus on hosting the World Cup solo in 2034.

As part of its plans Saudi Arabia would aim to host games within Neom, potentially in the Trojena ski resort, which has already won the rights to host the 2029 Winter Games.

According to The Times, the mountainous resort and other higher-altitude locations in the country would form part of Saudi Arabia's plans to host a summer tournament.

However, hosting a winter tournament – just like the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – could be another option.

Render of The Line's mirrored facades
The World Cup in 2034 could be hosted in Neom at the Trojena resort. Neom also contains The Line mega city

Like Qatar, if Saudi Arabia was to host the tournament it would most likely face criticism for its human rights record. During the World Cup in Qatar, a senior official revealed that at least 400 migrant workers died working on buildings for the World Cup.

Speaking to Dezeen, Amnesty International's Peter Frankental said that the silence of World Cup stadium architects "assisted" Qatar's sportswashing attempts.

In recent years Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in sports, with high-profile football players Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Neymar now playing in the country.

The 2023 FIFA Club World Cup is set to take place in Saudi Arabia. The country's Public Investment Fund also largely owns Newcastle United football club in the UK.

This Public Investment Fund is investing heavily in the Neom development, which, along with the ski resort, will include a 170-kilometre-long city called The Line.

Neom has been widely criticised on human rights grounds. Last year, human rights organisation ALQST reported that three men were sentenced to death after being "forcibly evicted" from the Neom site, and earlier this year experts from the UN Human Rights Council expressed "alarm" over the imminent executions.

The next World Cup in 2026 will be hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, with joint bids from Spain, Portugal and Morocco and Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay vying to host the 2030 tournament. Last year we rounded up the 16 stadiums that will host the 2026 tournament.