JAKARTA • Indonesia is set to lead a consortium of South-east Asian countries in an ambitious bid to host the 2034 World Cup.
Joko Driyono, the vice-president of Indonesia's football association (PSSI), announced yesterday that the country had proposed to lead the South-east Asian consortium at an Asian Football Federation (AFF) council meeting in Vietnam earlier this month.
"It will be officially endorsed in the (AFF) council meeting in Bali in September," he said.
Driyono said the bid to host the most prestigious football event was "ambitious" but that the consortium, comprising Asean countries, had 17 years to prepare. The deadline to register a bid is 2026.
Due to geographical and infrastructure considerations, only two or three of the 10 Asean member countries could host matches in the 2034 World Cup, he pointed out.
He believed the bid would provide a boost to Indonesia and its neighbours in their efforts to improve their football performances.
South-east Asian countries have never participated at the World Cup Finals before except for Indonesia, prior to their 1945 independence.
The game in Indonesia has been suffering from problems for years - from the creation of a breakaway association that tore the football establishment apart to cases of foreign players being treated badly.
"It is time that South-east Asia hosts the World Cup, and the progressive growth of Asia, especially South-east Asia, brings an optimism for us," Driyono said.
The region has hosted major events before, with Malaysia the venue for the 1997 under-20 World Cup and Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam co-hosting the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.
Both Thailand and Malaysia have several venues that can host a World Cup match, while Indonesia has the biggest stadium and Singapore, the most modern.
A joint South-east Asian bid was also put forward in October 2013, with Zainudin Nordin, then president of the Football Association of Singapore, announcing that Singapore was planning to lead an Asean bid to host the 2030 World Cup, but the plan did not materialise.