Saudi Arabia and Italy could launch a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup ©Getty Images

Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering teaming up with Italy to launch a joint bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

According to The Athletic, the Middle Eastern nation wants to enter the race to stage the tournament and has identified Italy as their preferred co-bidder.

Joining with Egypt and Morocco, which lost out to a joint candidacy from the United States, Canada and Mexico for the 2026 tournament, is also being mooted, The Athletic reported.

Italian Football Federation President Gabriele Gravina said last week that the organisation "will evaluate an Italian candidacy for the 2028 European Championship and the World Cup of 2030, in which the centenary of the World Championship is celebrated."

Saudi Arabia has never hosted the World Cup but has stepped up its efforts to stage major sports events in recent years amid criticism of its human rights record.

Riyadh was awarded the 2034 Asian Games in September and the country has also held professional boxing matches, including the world heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz in December 2019.

All of the other possible bids for the 2030 World Cup are joint efforts after FIFA allowed countries to join forces to spread the resources required to host the tournament.

Spain and Portugal have emerged as the favourite to carry European hopes in the race.

Italy is targeting a bid for the 2028 UEFA European Championship ©Getty Images
Italy is targeting a bid for the 2028 UEFA European Championship ©Getty Images

A potential five-nation bid from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Wales, which has the backing of the United Kingdom Government, looks to have been damaged by the violence which occurred prior to the final of the UEFA European Championship at Wembley Stadium last Sunday (July 11).

Morocco, which has unsuccessfully bid for the World Cup five times, could also enter again alone or with North African neighbours Tunisia and Algeria.

A joint South American bid from Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay is expected, centred on the centenary of the first tournament in Uruguay.

Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia have expressed their intent to jointly bid for the tournament.

China has also been mooted as a potential contender.

Italy last staged the World Cup in 1990.

FIFA said it expects to award the hosting rights for the 2030 World Cup in 2024.

World football's governing body made public for the first time how every country voted in the election of the 2026 World Cup hosts.

It also took the decision out of the hands of the ruling Executive Committee - now called the Council - and placed it in the hands of its 211 members at the 2018 FIFA Congress in Moscow.