MELBOURNE • Australia has held discussions with Indonesia about making a joint bid for the 2034 World Cup, the Football Federation Australia (FFA) said yesterday.
It confirmed to Reuters that it had met its Indonesian counterparts, the PSSI, at an Asean meeting last week.
In a statement, the FFA said: "Football Federation Australia confirms it has held discussions with the Indonesia Football Association about the possibility to jointly bid for the 2034 Fifa World Cup.
"An Indonesia-Australia joint bid was also discussed at last week's Asean Football Federation council meeting in Laos."
The revelation comes just days after Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said at a news conference in Bangkok last Sunday that all 10 countries from the Asean bloc would bid for the tournament.
Noting that the joint South-east Asian bid was endorsed at the Asean summit, the FFA also added that it "welcomes the opportunity to further discuss an Asean bid with fellow member associations in the region".
WE'LL MOVE AHEAD
(Thailand is) not ready.
RATU TISHA, PSSI secretary-general, on why Indonesia is keen to partner Australia.
PARTNERS WITH ALL
Indonesia is ready to work with anyone, it can be Asean, it can be with Australia.
YOYOK SUKAWI, PSSI exco member, on his country's interest.
LET'S MAKE IT WORK
Australia welcomes the opportunity to further discuss an Asean bid with fellow member associations in the region.
FOOTBALL FEDERATION OF AUSTRALIA, a member of the 12-country Asean Football Federation, raising the possibility it might want a part in the Asean bid.
However, the country's governing body for the sport declined to elaborate as to whether the talks between Australia and Indonesia were ongoing or had been shelved after the Asean announcement.
Australia was a candidate in the controversial bidding process for the 2022 World Cup, managing to win only one vote from Fifa's executive council members in 2010 as Qatar was awarded the hosting rights.
That bid failure, funded by over A$40 million (S$37.8 million) of government money, triggered criticism of the FFA and its methods after it emerged that it had funnelled money into development projects with ties to Fifa exco members.
The Indonesian media, citing PSSI secretary-general Ratu Tisha, reported on Wednesday that Indonesia had decided to partner Australia after Thailand had pulled out of the 2034 bid as it was "not ready".
And Gatot Widagdo, a PSSI spokesman, confirmed to Agence France-Presse yesterday that "we agreed to join with Australia to continue bidding for the World Cup".
He added that Indonesia also plans to team up with Australia in a bid to host the 2021 Fifa Under-20 World Cup.
Yoyok Sukawi, a member of the PSSI's executive committee, told Reuters they would be willing to work with "anyone" on a 2034 bid.
"Of course, we welcome it (a joint bid with Australia) and we will work hard to make it happen," he said. "Indonesia is ready to work with anyone, it can be Asean, it can be with Australia."
Only one World Cup has been held in Asia, co-hosted by Japan and South Korea in 2002.
The 2026 edition is being hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico, while multiple countries have expressed interest in making joint bids for the 2030 edition, including South American and Eastern European nations.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS