Saudi Arabia could bid for the 2035 FIFA Women's World Cup ©Getty Images

Saudi Arabia wants to host the 2035 Women's World Cup, according to the technical director of the country's women's team, Monika Staab.

The Gulf kingdom has already made a formal bid to host the 2034 men's World Cup but Staab suggested at the Leaders Week conference being held at Twickenham that it could also consider staging the women’s version.

"I believe it's a bright future (for the women's and girls' game in Saudi Arabia)," she said, as quoted by BBC Sport.

"I told [the sport's administrators] it takes time to go to the World Cup.

"I know they want to host the men's World Cup - why not host the Women's World Cup in 2035?

"We're now getting a team ready to be at least competing at that level."

Saudi Arabia are strongly placed to host the 2034 FIFA Men's World Cup ©Getty Images
Saudi Arabia are strongly placed to host the 2034 FIFA Men's World Cup ©Getty Images

Staab, a former German international who played also in France and Britain, joined the Saudi Arabian women's team as coach in August 2021 and became technical director in February this year.

There was severe criticism of plans for the tourism authority Visit Saudi to sponsor this year's Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and FIFA was obliged to abandon the idea after the host nations voiced their opposition to the idea.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of widespread human rights abuses and regards sexual activity between those of the same sex as illegal with a possible punishment of the death penalty.

There has also been consistent criticism over the restriction of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, and women’s rights campaigners have been imprisoned.

Amnesty International Australia campaigner Nikita White said in February: "It would be quite the irony for Saudi's tourism body to sponsor the largest celebration of women's sport in the world when you consider that, as a woman in Saudi Arabia, you can't even have a job without the permission of your male guardian."

The Saudi Arabia women's team were formed in 2022 and have not played in a competitive tournament.

Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in sport in recent years and has been accused of using events to "sportswash" its reputation.

Several high-profile male players, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, currently play in the Saudi Pro League.

More recently, England’s captain Jordan Henderson has encountered strong criticism after leaving Liverpool to play in Saudi Arabia, having previously taken part in efforts to promote the LGBTQ cause.