Many benefits to S'pore, Malaysia as co-hosts for World Cup

A joint bid for the World Cup in 2034 by Singapore and Malaysia would be an excellent opportunity to show the world that our ability to host such a mega event is on a par with any other region globally (Fifa World Cup 2034: S'pore, Asean neighbours should launch joint bid, by Mr Toh Cheng Seong; July 10).

With the tournament expanding to 48 countries, the list of potential hosts will shrink, owing to the substantially higher cost and more complex infrastructure required for this prestigious event.

The World Cup in 2002 was the first to be held in Asia as well as the first time that it was co-hosted. This hugely successful tournament brought South Korea and Japan closer together to improve relations from a painful past.

Both these countries reported legacies of co-hosting that are not easy to assess - apart from 10 state-of-the-art stadiums built for the tournament.

Japan was already an economically developed nation prior to the 2002 competition, but South Korea was able to convey a new image of a democratic, dynamic and progressive nation to a worldwide TV audience of approximately 40 billion.

There is no reason why Singapore and Malaysia cannot enjoy economic benefits, apart from a similar boost to our respective national images, from coordinating a successful tournament.

Co-organising such a mega international celebration will strengthen us as allies and help us transcend the issues that lie between us as neighbours.

Based on the massive infrastructural requirements of an expanded tournament, sharing responsibilities between two or more countries could be the new global hosting model.

Singapore and Malaysia both stand to gain from cooperation for this event.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2017, with the headline 'Many benefits to S'pore, Malaysia as co-hosts for World Cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe