Australia open to bid for 2034 World Cup


CANBERRA – Football Australia (FA) has flagged a bid to host the FIFA men’s World Cup in 2034.

James Johnson, the chief executive of FA, on Thursday said that Australia was a long way from making a decision on whether to bid for the World Cup but said it was important to start talks a decade in advance.

His comments came after media reports suggested that Australia was preparing a bid to host either the 2030 or 2034 tournament in an attempt to surround the 2032 Brisbane Olympics with major events having already won the right to host the 2023 women’s World Cup.

Johnson said the speculation was “a little out of context” but said a bid for 2034 was more likely, suggesting that 2030 would likely be held in Europe or South America after Qatar in 2022 and North America in 2026, according to Xinhua.

“The next time we can realistically host the World Cup is in 2034,” he told reporters. “There’s an opportunity to bring the World Cup back to Asia, the Asia-Pacific area, in 2034.”

“Just to be clear – we’re not bidding for the World Cup (at this stage). It’s an aspiration (for us), it’s part of the vision,” he added. “But the way these competitions get won is the conversations behind closed doors start a decade before.”

The renewed interest in hosting the world’s biggest tournament comes 11 years after Australia’s bid for the 2022 World Cup ended in disappointment with only one vote from FIFA’s council.

Johnson, previously a senior executive at FIFA and the City Football Group, said it would be impossible for Australia to go it alone on any future bids, opening up the possibility of a joint bid with neighbours in Asia and Oceania.

In 2019, he held talks with Indonesia about a joint bid that would include other south-east Asian countries.

“If you look at the way (FIFA president) Gianni Infantino is wanting to run his competition strategies, he wants cross-nation competitions. I don’t see any future World Cups being run by one country,” Johnson said.

“It is something that would need to be done with other countries in the region, both in Asia and probably Oceania region.

“What I can say is we’ve got an opportunity with the ‘23 Women’s World Cup – I think we will deliver an outstanding tournament. If we can deliver the best ever Women’s World Cup tournament, it does put you in a good position to take on more FIFA competitions.”