PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is in the mood to host the FIFA World Cup in 2034 together with their South-East Asian neighbours.
And the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) are prepared to take the lead role in the bidding process.
FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam welcomed the initiatives by the Asean governments in launching a joint bid to host the World Cup during the 34th Asean Summit in Bangkok on Sunday.During the summit, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed said Malaysia welcomed the idea of hosting the World Cup for the first time in the region.
He said five Asean countries – Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam – had mooted the idea and he agreed that it would be better to have more nations, instead of one, to host one of the biggest sports events in the world.
Stuart is happy with the government’s support but admitted that studies must be conducted first.“It’s excellent to see governments getting excited. But everyone has to understand that the bidding exercise and the hosting job will take enormous effort,” said Stuart.
“FAM are willing to work with relevant parties to conduct affordability and feasibility studies before going ahead with the bidding process.
“We have to do in-depth study and lobbying.
“The World Cup committee do not decide on the host job any more, but it’s the FIFA member associations who determine the hosting rights.
“We also have to make sure that we do not bid against an Asian country. We must get the Asian support.”
Qatar are the hosts of the next World Cup in 2022, while the United States, Mexico and Canada will jointly host the World Cup in 2026. The slots for the 2030 and 2034 editions have not been filled up.
“FAM are fully behind this effort, but we need to make a thorough study to see if we are capable of hosting it in 2034 or even later in 2038.”
Meanwhile, the Asean Football Federation (AFF) president Khiev Sameth from Cambodia said the federation welcomed the announcement made by political leaders in the region.
“A FIFA World Cup hosted by Asean will generate economic and sporting benefits for this region, and will also strengthen the bond among the 640 million people,” he said.
“AFF will engage our stakeholders and look into the possibility of making a bid for the hosting rights while taking into account the key factors including pre-determined minimum requirements for hosting the competition, timelines and other considerations,” he said. Last year, former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) secretary-general, the late Datuk Peter Velappan stated that bringing the World Cup to the region was not an impossible dream as FIFA were open to having the tournament in every part of the world.
He said the bid should have 100% government support before presenting a good case through AFC.
Peter believed that Asean were ready as countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam are footballing nations and had no problems with the infrastructure.