Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Australia may be nominated 2018 World Cup host

Australia, which enters the Asian Football Confederation on 1 Junary 2006, is considering a bid to host the 2018 World Cup finals on behalf of the Oceania Football Confederation which it is leaving.

Football Federation Australia chief executive, John O'Neill, confirmed the move yesterday, which would see the Oceania bid for the event with Australia nominated as host and with some games played in Oceania's soon-to-be largest member, New Zealand.

"In 2006 the cup is in Europe, in 2010 it's Africa, 2014 will be South America, and in 2018 it's our turn," he said prior to the FIFA congress held in Morocco this weekend. "They [Oceania] are prepared to put us up as hosts, with some matches to be in New Zealand."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is believed to be open to the prospect of Oceania hosting a World Cup but Australia's membership of Asia may be an issue. It is also reported that there are "machinations afoot for Oceania to become a sub-zone of Asia".

As the then-chief executive of the Australian Rugby Union, O'Neill was the key figure in Australia successfully bidding for and hosting the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

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