KUANTAN: There is a possibility of bringing the beautiful game to Malaysia in the future as the country can jointly host the 2034 FIFA World Cup with three other Asean countries.
FIFA executive committee member Pahang Regent Tengku Mahkota Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said the football governing bodies from Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam had shown interest in being joint hosts with Malaysia
Tengku Abdullah was still uncertain on the country's stand on the matter but said there should not be a problem if the Government gave its support.
"I guess there will be no problem if four countries show their interest to bid for the tournament in 2034. It may be much better. It is up to FAM and the Government to decide.
"Asean has an opportunity and the strength to put up a joint bid as three or four countries are allowed to be co-hosts. It is similar to the United States, Canada and Mexico being joint hosts in 2026," he said when met by reporters at his Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house here Saturday (June 16).
Tengku Abdullah said it was time for the Asean region to be given an opportunity as it would allow the countries to improve their infrastructure and strengthen their respective national teams.
Tengku Abdullah, who had just returned from the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow, Russia, said although there were no specific discussions about the countries bidding to host the 2034 World Cup, he believed that proper planning would pave the way for Asean's long awaited moment to host the event become reality.
"If Malaysia is prepared to host the event in 2034, there is still ample time for preparations," he said.
On the proposal to expand the World Cup to 48 teams, Tengku Abdullah said this could provide Asean teams with special slots without relying on the Asia quota.
He added that this could be raised in future discussions but it had to adhere to a certain formula.
In July last year, Indonesia's football association (PSSI) vice-president Joko Driyono announced that the country is set to lead a consortium of South-East Asian countries in an ambitious bid to host the 2034 World Cup.
Malaysia's then Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said a feasibility study would be conducted by the Asean countries in their bid.He said Malaysia was keen to be one of the hosts of the competition.
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