Football: 3 Asean countries eye World Cup 2034

A file photo taken on Dec 17, 2016, shows Thailand's players celebrating their second goal against Indonesia during the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup final. PHOTO: ST FILE

KUANTAN, MALAYSIA (BERNAMA) - Three Asean countries, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam may put in a bid to host World Cup 2034.

Fifa Executive Committee member Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said, should any of the countries be successful, Malaysia might have the opportunity to co-host, if the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and the government were agreeable.

"The opportunity for us (Asean) to bid conceivably has its strengths because three to four countries can share, as what USA, Mexico and Canada did to win the bid and become the 2026 host. In fact the time has come for countries in the Asean region to be given the opportunity. In this regard, we hope the infrastructure and strength of Asean's football teams would have been consolidated by then.

"We have 16 years, which should be sufficient," he said when met at the Aidilfitri Open House at Istana Abdulaziz here today.

The event was attended by more than 5,000 people including Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail and his predecessor Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob as well as other assemblymen.

Mexico, Canada and US made the bid jointly and was announced as the World Cup 2026 organisers on Wednesday. It will see Mexico and Canada organising 10 matches each, while the quarter-finals and the rest of the matches would be held in US.

Tengku Abdullah who has just returned from Moscow after attending a FIFA Council Meeting in conjunction with the 2018 World Cup yesterday, expressed confidence that Malaysia could also be one of the host countries based on the infrastructure it has.

On whether Asean teams would also have the opportunity to compete in the championship through a special slot if they managed to become the host, he said the matter would be discussed, in line with the proposal to increase the number of teams in the 2026 World Cup.

The majority of FIFA Committee Members had earlier voted for the idea to extend World Cup 2026 teams to 48 from 32.

The World Cup format was last changed in 1998, which saw 32 teams competing, from 24 teams previously.

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