Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Australia to make sole bid for 2018 World Cup

Australia intends to bid alone for the 2018 World Cup after its joint proposal with neighbouring New Zealand was rejected by FIFA. Australia is leaving the Oceania Football Federation to become a member of the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA will not allow a cross-confederation bid with New Zealand. The English Football Association has since signalled its intentions to bid for the 2018 World Cup and Australia may also face inter-regional competition from China.

"It's going to be tough, but even if we miss out on 2018, we'll be putting a stake in the ground for 2022," John O'Neill, chief executive of Football Federation Australia, said, as quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We're not going to give up on this, not by a long shot. Unarguably, Australia has proven it can host major sporting events better than most countries. If rugby, which is a more boutique sport, can sell 2.2 million tickets, then who knows how many we could sell in football? I mean, we sold 1.2 million tickets just for football at the 2000 Olympics. We've been in preliminary talks with all the state governments, we've talked to stadium owners, and it's full steam ahead. We've got to be very ambitious, we've got to be more aggressive in a constructive way in order to make sure we stay in the race," he said

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