It was revealed during a Southeast Asian leaders meeting that all the heads of state in the region are supportive of a joint ASEAN bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup. The shocking announcement has taken football in Asia by storm as the matter was not brought to the attention of the respective football associations nor the AFC.
South Korea and Japan were the first Asian countries to win the World Cup hosting job back in 2002 while Qatar are being primed to host the next one in 2022. The announcement suggested that 10 ASEAN nations could work hand in hand to host the 2034 version.
While Dato Windsor John welcomes the support of the leaders of the nations to host a World Cup, he is also understandably asking for more discussion and planning. The more countries being assigned as host means lesser quota will remains for other Asian countries as only one host is given an automatic slot.
The World Cup will be increased from 32 teams in 2022 to 48 teams in 2026, which will also increase AFC's slot from 4.5 to 8.5 teams. It would seem hard to convince other Asian countries that they will only be vying for a much lesser qualifying spot if the ASEAN bid is to be supported.
"When the time comes for Asean to be the host, of course we would like them to take the opportunity. Right now, Asia is expected to be the host in 2034 even though there's a chance that Asia will get the 2030. For now we are concentrating on the 2022 World Cup as that is only the second time Asia will play host.
"When it is time for us to be the host again, we need to ensure a strong bid so that FIFA will have no fear giving us the chance again. FIFA council has decided on a rotation basis for the host continent but we are also hearing that they are looking to consider the best bid. But the decision has not been made yet but we know that back-to-back will not happen.
"We at AFC are also reading the news that come out. We are hearing that Australia wants to be part of it but they are not part of Asean from a political viewpoint. So we are also unsure of the details. To have the interest is always positive but there's a need to understand the mechanism and how the slots will be given. So that is a context that needs to be understand.
"Normally whoever wants to bid, they usually speak to the confederation first. Because the confederation has to give 100% backing. If split backing already exist within the confederation, how can we win at the congress? Normally if we want to win, there has to be only one bid so that the confederation can give a strong backing to it," said Dato Windsor on Tuesday.
Windsor also went on to explain the nature of the process and suggested that China have shown their interest to host a World Cup and could be eyeing for the 2030 one. In which case, FIFA has an understanding that no continent will be given back-to-back World Cups, thus making the 2034 obsolete if China wins their expected bid.
Follow Goal Malaysia on Instagram