Saudi Arabia is willing to arrange the 2034 World Cup during the summer months. The Middle Eastern nation successfully won the bid to host the tournament back in October. FIFA president Gianni Infantino revealed the news after Saudi Arabia ran unopposed. Australia previously showed interest in hosting the 2034 competition but ultimately opted against making an official bid.

Saudi officials have been mulling the idea of hosting the tournament during the summer months for a while. News broke before they won the rights to the 2034 World Cup that they wanted it played during the hottest months of the year.

World Cups are typically played in the summer as many top leagues around the world are in the offseason at this time. However, the 2022 World Cup was played during the fall and winter months in Qatar just last year. This was mostly due to the excessive heat in the fellow Middle Eastern nation. As a result, players complained about being overworked due to the packed schedule.

Saudi Arabia executive talks summer or winter World Cup in 2034

While there are obvious concerns about playing the Saudi World Cup in the summer months, the country’s sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal has admitted that they are weighing their options. “I don’t know to be honest,” replied Prince Abdulaziz when asked about possibly hosting the tournament in the summer. “We are definitely studying both options to see which is the best option to host the World Cup.”

The 2022 World Cup was the first in the Middle East. It showed the feasibility of hosting the tournament in the winter.
The 2022 World Cup was the first in the Middle East. It showed the feasibility of hosting the tournament in the winter.

The 2022 World Cup was the first in the Middle East. It showed the feasibility of hosting the tournament in the winter.

The executive then claimed the timing of the tournament does not matter.

“Why not see what the possibilities are to do it in the summer? Whether it is summer or winter it doesn’t matter for us, as long as we make sure that we [deliver] the right atmosphere to host such an event,” continued Prince Abdulaziz.

Largest cities in the country reach 100 degrees (F) in July

High temperatures in the Saudi capital of Riyadh regularly reach around 110 degrees (F) in July. Other places, such as Al-Ettifaq’s home of Dammam, average even higher temperatures during this time. Record highs in the region can exceed 120 degrees (F) as well. The Saudi Pro League (SPL) regularly avoids playing matches during these summer months to steer clear of the heat.

Nevertheless, soccer officials are exploring ways to beat the heat and host the tournament during the summer. Saudi Arabian Football Federation president Yasser al-Misehal claimed last month that they were looking into utilizing air conditioners inside their arenas.

“Today there are many new technologies that help you with cooling or adding air conditioners in stadiums, in addition to the fact that there are many cities in the kingdom that enjoy a very wonderful atmosphere in the summer,” proclaimed Yasser al-Misehal.

Qatar previously implemented in-stadium air conditioning to help fans remain cool during last year’s tournament. This situation differs significantly because the competition happened in November and December.

Yasser al-Misehal is correct that some Saudi areas do not reach 110 degrees (F) during the summer months. Nevertheless, temperatures in the five largest Saudi cities regularly exceed 100 degrees (F). Abha, home of the SPL team of the same name, is the largest town in the nation where temperatures are not absurdly hot in July. Their home stadium has a current capacity of just 20,000 fans.