The idea to host the world’s biggest sporting event in Australia is a key part of a strategy that looks to bring a selection of major events to the country, on the back of Brisbane securing the 2032 Olympic Games.
FA CEO James Johnson explained that the governing body has not yet decided to bid for the World Cup, but suggested it is a part of the vision they have for the game.
“It’s an aspiration (hosting the World Cup), that’s part of our vision,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“The next time I think we could realistically host it is 2034 because 2026 is in North America, 2022 is in Asia, 2030 – I think – will go to Europe or South America. There’s an opportunity to bring the World Cup back to Asia, the Asia-Pacific area, in 2034.”
A factor which should strengthen Australia’s case to be the home of a future World Cup is the hosting of the upcoming Women’s World Cup in 2023.
In a pattern which Australia is hoping to follow, Canada hosted the Women’s World Cup in 2015 and used it as a stepping stone to eventually win the right to host part of the 2026 World Cup, alongside Mexico and USA.
Australia, alongside co-hosts New Zealand, are set to sell a record number of tickets for the 2023 tournament.
FIFA have opened an office in Australia to assist with the dealings in the build-up to the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which gives FA access and the opportunity to open dialogue with FIFA administrators and pursue their future ambitions.
The FA CEO knows however, it is imperative that Australia delivers a world class tournament to stand any chance of winning the right to host a future World Cup.
“What I can say is we’ve got an opportunity with the 2023 Women’s World Cup – I think we will deliver an outstanding tournament. If we can deliver the best ever Women’s World Cup tournament, it does put you in a good position to take on more FIFA competitions,” Johnson said.
Australia was awarded the 2023 Women’s World Cup under a new FIFA voting process, which is also set to give the country more of a chance to win a further vote this time around in 2030 or more likely 2034.
Under Australia’s previous World Cup bid in 2010, they secured a singular vote from FIFA’s council.
However, the new voting method gives all 211 national member associations a chance to vote, rather than the previous secretive process which was conducted by FIFA council members.
Australia may have further success with this system due to the transparent nature of it and minimization of influence from FIFA’s top dogs.
One of those head honchos is Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, who has steered the ship in the organisation after replacing Sepp Blatter in 2016.
Johnson believes Infantino’s approach to competitions would mean Australia is going to have to find a partnering country for any future bid for a World Cup.
“If you look at the way Gianni is wanting to run his competition strategies, he wants cross-nation competitions. I don’t see any future World Cups being run by one country,” said Johnson.
“It is something that would need to be done with other countries in the region, both in the Asia and probably Oceania region.”
FA have previously held discussions with Indonesia about hosting a World Cup and they, alongside New Zealand, are the most likely candidates to partner with Australia if they bid.
Sharing the bid with another country like Indonesia will have its benefits, such as improving relations between both countries and also halving the costs of an expensive exercise.
There will be difficulties that need to be worked out, but this may be Australia’s best chance to host a World Cup in the foreseeable future.