Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

China eyes World Cup [Straits Times]


Isn’t this the truth – A World Cup in China, with a population of over 1.3 billion people, would present a significant market and immense financial benefits for Fifa. By then China would be already more than 1.5 billion strong if current projects are correct. By 2015, we can be expecting 1.4 billion already. Of course, just like the Olympics, I am sure China will put on a stunning public relations spectacular.

– – –

China eyes World Cup
It will go all out to host the 2026 edition, says country’s football official
By Jonathan Wong
Source – Straits Times, published July 29, 2010

Potential World Cup hosts Qatar (2022) and England (2018) have set up booths at the the Soccerex Asian Forum. -- ST PHOTOS: RAJ NADARAJAN

CHINA dreams of hosting the biggest sporting event on the planet, and will pursue its ambitions even if it is at the expense of its Asian neighbours, said Shao Wenzhong, the general manager of China Football Industry Development Corporation (CFIDC).

Japan, South Korea, Australia and Qatar are in the running to stage the 2022 football World Cup.

According to the sport’s governing body Fifa’s rules, no continent can host the World Cup twice in a row.

China’s push to host the 2026 World Cup would therefore put the Asian bids for the 2022 edition in jeopardy.

But if the United States – also a bidder – gets the rights to the 2022 edition, it will pave the way for football’s biggest tournament to be held in China.

‘I believe China should host the World Cup in 2026. And we must seize the opportunity if one arises,’ Shao told The Straits Times clinically.

‘If we bid for the World Cup, I believe countries worldwide will support us.’

Shao is a member of the Chinese delegation in Singapore for the Soccerex Asian Forum which kicked off yesterday. The CFIDC operates all commercial activities for the Chinese Football Association.

However, the decision to submit an official bid will be made only after December, when Fifa will award the hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

A World Cup in China, with a population of over 1.3 billion people, would present a significant market and immense financial benefits for Fifa.

However, Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Hammam dismissed the notion that a Chinese bid would handicap Asia’s opportunities to host the 2022 competition.

He said: ‘It will not minimise the chances of any of the four nations and their bids.’

The Qatari, who is also a Fifa executive committee member, nevertheless threw his weight behind his country, which will host next year’s Asian Cup.

He said: ‘I have one vote… and frankly speaking I will vote for Qatar, but if Qatar is not in the running I will vote for another Asian country.’

Delighted to receive his support was Hassan Al-Thawadi, the chief executive of Qatar’s bid committee, who gave a 20-minute presentation at the Raffles City Convention Centre on his country’s plans for 2022.

He said: ‘There is an air of uncertainty regarding China’s bid. I’m looking at what is certain and tangible.

‘And what is tangible is there is a bidding process in place for 2022 and there are four Asian countries involved. We are focused on 2022 and we are looking to win the 2022 race.’

Besides plans to invest US$4 billion ($5.45 billion) on building 12 stadiums and a new US$5 billion international airport to be unveiled next year, developments for a ‘second-generation cooling technology’ which will keep stadiums, training facilities and fan areas at about 27 deg C are already under way.

This is to combat the scorching summer heat when temperatures average 41 deg C.

Furthermore, due to the country’s small size, all stadiums will be within an hour’s travel of each other, allowing teams to cut down on travel time and cost while fans will be able to catch more than one live World Cup game a day.

‘It will be a close call,’ said Al-Thawadi on Fifa’s decision later this year. ‘But I do believe coming to Qatar and the Middle East in 2022 will be a new frontier for Fifa.’

jonwong@sph.com.sg

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Filed under: Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Economics, International Relations, Nationalism, Social, Sport, Straits Times

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