Thursday, September 08, 2005

NZ backs Australia/Oceania World Cup bid

New Zealand Soccer has confirmed it will support Australia's bid to host the 2018 World Cup. Chief executive Graham Seatter also unveiled the NZ body's plans for the 2008 women's under-20 World Cup and he hopes to advance discussion surrounding both bids at FIFA's 55th ordinary congress in Marrakech, Morocco early next week.

"FIFA have said they want to spread their world championships around the confederations and the fact they've scheduled the (2008) tournament for November signals they're looking at the southern hemisphere . . . they like the idea because it's a good separation, both geographically and time-wise, from the Beijing Olympics in August," Seatter said.

Seatter believes Australia, who are to align with the Asian Football Confederation from January 1, have a good shot at hosting the first senior men's World Cup finals in Oceania in 2018. The best New Zealand could hope for was to host a pool, he said.

"We've known about this (trans-Tasman) bid for some time and with Asia (Japan and Korea 2002) and Africa (South Africa 2010) hosting their first World Cups, it's Oceania's turn. Ironically it would be hosted by a country that has left Oceania but we wouldn't be too precious about that ... if Australia want support we'll give it."

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