Correspondent Kang Young-jin = Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally promised Greece and Egypt that they would pay for all infrastructure construction costs, including football stadiums, if they agreed to co-host the 2030 World Cup, US political media Politico ( POLITICO) reported on the 7th (local time).
Instead, Saudi Arabia put forward a condition that three-quarters of all World Cup matches must be held in Saudi Arabia.
During a private conversation with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Michotakis last summer, Crown Prince bin Salman proposed to pay billions of euros for construction costs.
Crown Prince bin Salman has proposed that 75% of 48 football matches be held in Saudi Arabia, in exchange for covering all hosting costs in Greece and Egypt.
With the revelation of this fact, it is expected that criticism will flood in that Saudi Arabia is trying to buy the right to host the World Cup by mobilizing its enormous oil wealth.
As a way to persuade the members of the World Football Federation (FIFA) to support Saudi Arabia, a plan to hold the World Cup on three continents was also proposed. This is because Qatar hosted the World Cup last year, and it has become difficult to host the World Cup again in the Middle East.
In addition to Saudi Arabia, Greece and Egypt, Europe’s Spain, Portugal, and Ukraine and South America’s Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile are competing to host the 2030 World Cup.
In the case of Egypt, if it accepts the Saudi condition, it can secure the support of African member countries, and in the case of Greece, it can secure the support of European countries.
Saudi Arabia has made great efforts to host major sporting events such as boxing, European football, Formula 1 auto racing and golf tours. A Saudi sovereign wealth fund has bought the British Premier League football team and will host the 2027 Asian Cup football tournament.
However, Saudi Arabia’s intention to host the World Cup goes beyond sports and is evaluated to position Saudi Arabia as the hub of Africa, Europe and Asia. Simon Chadwick, a professor of world politics and economics and sports at Schema Graduate School of Economics in France, said, “Saudi Arabia is trying to become the center of a new world order,” and “It is for Saudi Arabia to exert influence on various international issues.”
Greece, which hosted the 2004 Olympics, spent 9 billion euros at the time to build stadiums and other facilities, but most of them are rarely used after the Olympics.
In Greece, which has been in recession for more than 10 years and received an emergency bailout, there are widespread concerns that the hosting of the World Cup will intensify economic difficulties. In addition, the Greek New Democratic Party government, which came to power in 2019, has sought to strengthen relations with Middle Eastern countries to contain Turkiye. 안전놀이터
Prime Minister Michotakis has visited Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, several times, dispatched military equipment and troops to Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman visited Greece last July.
Saudi Arabia has also maintained close ties with Egypt. After meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in June last year, Crown Prince bin Salman signed an agreement to invest billions of euros.
The decision on the venue for the 2030 World Cup will be made next year after the voting process is revealed at the end of this year.