A Chinese bid to host the 2026 World Cup would be reliant on the failure of the four Asian countries angling to be selected as the venue for the previous tournament, regional soccer chief Mohammed Bin Hammam said.
Wei Di, the head of the Chinese Football Association (CFA), returned from South Africa last week and said he was keen to bring international soccer’s showpiece event to the world’s most populous country for the first time.
South Korea, Australia, Qatar and Japan have, however, already expressed their intention to bid for 2022 and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Bin Hammam said his priority was the success of one of those.
“Naturally if any one of these countries wins, then Asia will not be eligible to bid for the 2026 World Cup,” the Qatari told Chinese media on a visit to Beijing on Tuesday.
“I and AFC are supporting the chances of these four countries in 2022. We don’t want to jeopardize their chances,” he said. “If we cannot make it for 2022, then we can work towards the 2026 World Cup.”
Having constructed several spectacular new stadiums to host the 2007 women’s World Cup and the soccer tournament at the 2008 Olympics, China has shown it has the means to organize a World Cup.
As well as the four Asian bids for 2022, however, the huge corruption scandal at the CFA and the current parlous state of the national team (78th in FIFA’s world rankings) would be obstacles to a bid from China.
“We are considering 2026,” Wei, who took over at the CFA in January after his predecessor was arrested for corruption, told the reporters. “We are in a position to host it and we are studying the feasibility. But I never said I don’t want other Asian countries not to win it in 2022.”
The 2014 World Cup will take place in Brazil, while the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments will be decided on Dec. 2.
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