Sheffield United: Owner's homeland considering innovative bid

Saudi Arabia, whose government Sheffield United owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud once served as sports minister, are said to be planning a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup with reigning European champions Italy.

By James Shield
Friday, 16th July 2021, 2:22 pm

If the proposal comes to fruition, it would mark a further strengthening of the two country’s footballing ties with the Supercoppa Italiana twice being staged in the Middle Eastern kingdom until returning home last year.

Although Prince Abdullah no longer holds a ministerial position - he was required to relinquish his seat on Bramall Lane’s board of directors until leaving the role - the 56-year-old still retains strong connections with the sport in his homeland. Jan van Winckel, one of his most trusted advisors and an influential figure in the United World project, has served as the Saudi Arfabian Football Federation’s technical director.

According to reports, Saudi Arabia has hired a consultancy firm based in the United States to investigate the possibility of launching what would be a pioneering proposal to FIFA. A number of countries in Africa have also been mooted as potential partners, but there are concerns about their ability to build the required infrastructure following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

H.R.H Prince Abdullah bin Mosa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Sa'ud speaks at a press conference introducing the new owners of Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture date: 19th September 2019. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Italy have been approached after they also expressed an interest in hosting the tournament.

Officials at their respective FA’s have worked together closely on several occasions in the past. With Juventus lifting the SC trophy following a win over Milan in Jeddah two years ago. They surrendered it 12 months later after be9ing beaten by Lazio in Riyadh.