- The Straits Times
No longer a pipe dream.
It may be 15 years too early to be hyped for the 2034 World Cup, but a five-nation bid to host the tournament launched on Wednesday (Oct 9) has ignited the hopes of football fans in South-east Asia.
Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn announced on Wednesday that Thailand would be leading the joint bid to host the tournament, which is watched by 3.6 billion people around the world.
The other four nations are Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, according to a media statement released on Friday (Oct 11). Other Asean members are welcome to take part, it added.
Signed off during the fifth Asean Ministerial Meeting on Sports in Manila, Phillippines on Wednesday, the idea of a joint World Cup bid was first raised in 1996 by Singapore’s then-Minister for Community Development Abdullah Tarmugi. At the time, it was positively received by the Asean Football Federation, The Straits Times reported.
The idea was revived in 2011 and again in 2017, but excitement fizzled out since no official bid was made.
However, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha reignited the topic in June, after he announced that South-east Asian countries would jointly bid to host football’s biggest tournament.
The Bangkok Post reported that other countries which have shown interest in hosting the 2034 World Cup include China, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and joint bidders Australia and New Zealand.
They are all expected to be major competitors to Asean’s joint bid.
According to FIFA’s official website, the last time the World Cup was co-hosted by two nations was in 2002 by Japan and South Korea.
The next time the quadrennial tournament will be co-hosted is the 2026 edition, which is set in Canada, Mexico and the United States.
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