Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Greece are planning to submit a tripartite bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
According to Egypt's Akhbar Elyom earlier this month the country's Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi held a meeting with his Saudi and Greek counterparts to finalise plans for the proposed bid.
Sobhi also expressed the intention to build a large stadium in El Alamein to bolster Egypt's sporting infrastructure and meet the specifications of being a host nation.
The Egyptian minister also revealed to local radio station Mega FM that "Egypt is working on applying to host the World Cup and other sports tournaments in the future".
"The Egyptian state has the capabilities that qualify it to host the World Cup, but this issue still needs to be reviewed," Sobhi added, stressing Egypt's recent success in organising several international tournaments including the Africa Cup of Nations, the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations and the World Men's Handball Championship and the African Men's Handball Championship all in the space of the past three years.
Egypt's 2010 bid was unsuccessful, losing out to South Africa who made history in hosting the first World Cup in Africa. Saudi Arabia will also be making history when it hosts the Asian Games in 2034 in the capital Riyadh.
The kingdom's decision to launch a bid alongside Egypt and Greece follows a previous attempt to do so with footballing giants Italy. Saudi Arabia has also just recently hosted the heavyweight boxing rematch between former champion Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk, with the latter winning again. Among the attendees at the fight dubbed "Rage on the Red Sea" was FIFA President Gianni Infantino who was seated next to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
If the bid is successful, it would make it the first World Cup tournament to be hosted across continents – Africa, Asia and Europe. In Egypt and Saudi Arabia's case, it will be the second time it was hosted in the Middle East, following FIFA 2022 hosts Qatar.
The 2002 World Cup hosted in Japan and South Korea was the first time the prestigious international football event was co-hosted by two countries. The 2026 World Cup will also be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and the US.
Politically Egypt, Greece and Saudi have formed a budding entente, particularly around energy and defence. Yesterday the Hercules-2022 military drill kicked off in western Egypt and will include the participation of special units from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Greece and Cyprus. Last year's edition of the exercise was held in September in Greece with the participation of Egyptian, Emirati and Saudi forces.