2034 World Cup: Youth and Sports Ministry to meet China envoy – Syed Saddiq

by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA

Following ASEAN’s announcement that it will launch a joint bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2034, the Youth and Sports Ministry said today it was ready to meet Chinese embassy officials here over reports that China was also seriously considering a bid for the tournament’s 2030 edition.

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the main aim of a proposed meeting with China’s ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian was to ascertain China’s firm stand over the matter, as the nation has yet to officially make an announcement on a speculated 2030 bid.

Syed Saddiq said the Malaysian government, together with the rest of the ASEAN member nations, were steadfast in its pursuit to bid for the World Cup, dubbed as the greatest sporting show on earth.

“We understand that if China wins the 2030 bid, it will mean we have to wait until 2038 the minimum. We will give it out best shot, but at the same time we need to be in contact with China to know what exactly are their intentions, because I heard they haven’t formally put in their application.

“From (the) Malaysian side, we have already started. The PM (Prime Minister) and the King have already given their green light, yesterday in the post cabinet meeting, (the PM) instructed my ministry to set a meeting with the ambassador of China to discuss this seriously,” he said.

Syed Saddiq was speaking to reporters at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the National Sports Council (NSC) and Kool Sport, Asia Pacific Sports and the Regent International School for the National Football Development Programme here, today.

Who amongst the ASEAN member nations that will lead the discussions with China has yet to be decided, Syed Saddiq said.

“Let’s wait for the discussion – we will need to hold one before appointing ourselves or some other nation to lead the delegation,” he said.

International Football Federation (FIFA) regulations dictate that nations from the same continent are not allowed to host the World Cup in two consecutive editions.

On the challenges expected in allowing Israeli athletes and officials on Malaysian soil should they qualify for the tournament, Syed Saddiq said the matter will be discussed eventually as the focus was now on first bringing the prestigious quadrennial football championship to the region.

“Let’s not put the cart before the horse. As I mentioned, the government’s stand is that we agree to host and we will work with our ASEAN partners to ensure that we win the bid,” he added.

Last Sunday, all 10 ASEAN member nations agreed to work together to launch a bid to host the 2034 World Cup.

The idea was mooted and agreed upon at the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok Thailand.