While the national team are still a long way off from qualifying for the FIFA World Cup finals on merit, Malaysia could still find themselves in the grandest of football competitions after FAM congress threw their support behind the possibility of a joint Asean bid for a World Cup hosting job.
Generally FIFA tend to award the hosting job by going from continent to continent as shown by Japan-South Korea in 2002, Germany in 2006, South Africa in 2010, Brazil in 2014 and Russia in 2018. The next one will return to Asia with Qatar preparing themselves for the biggest sporting event in the world next year.
Vice-President of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Dato Seri Subahan Kamal was elated to see its members back any potential bid and also welcomed the proposal from the congress to be leading the lobby party in a working partnership with other Asean countries.
“This whole idea was mooted by AFF as a collective for Asean countries to bid for 2030. The Prime Minister and the Sports Minister are also supportive of the idea. Today in the congress has supported the idea and I would like to thank Dato Hamidin and Stuart for giving me the responsibility.
“The next move is for us to engage with the minister’s office, KBS and MSN to sit down and see how we can move forward. Let us form up a committee and have the meetings with the respective government office to see what we can do.
“China looks like they will bid in 2030, so we will also finalise on that. But the most important is that we cannot work alone. We have to work with our AFF partners and then see whether it is 2030, 2034 or 2038," said Subahan after the congress.
It is widely accepted that Asian powerhouse China hold the intention to bid for the 2030 edition, which would mean a 2034 joint-Asean bid unlikely given that up to this point, no World Cup has ever stayed in the same continent for successive tournaments.
All of which points towards any potential joint-Asean bid to come in either the 2038 or 2042 edition. Given that Qatar threw their hat into the ring back in 2009 to signal their intention host, it means that Malaysia and FAM could be staring at 2029 as the year they will decide if any bid is forthcoming.
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