Aussies plan World Cup bid

SYDNEY - Australia will bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, the national football federation announced yesterday.

SYDNEY - Australia will bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, the national football federation announced yesterday.

"This marks the beginning of a long and important journey, not just for football but for Australia, until we know the outcome in December next year," Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy said.

"The bid will also help the world understand that Australia is a 'can-do' country, where important, major events can happen with a minimum of fuss and a minimum of worry."

Last year the government appropriated 45 million Australian dollars to pay for the campaign. Britain, Japan, Qatar, Mexico, Russia and Indonesia are also keen to host one of the next two tournaments, as is the United States.

Spain and Portugal, like Belgium and Holland, have put forward a joint bid.

African countries cannot bid for the 2018 tournament because the 2010 World Cup will be staged in South Africa. South American countries are out of contention for both 2018 and 2022 as Brazil will host the 2014 championship.

Bidding countries must have a dozen 40000-seat stadiums, at least one of them with a capacity of 80000 seats.

Australia is more likely to be in contention for the 2022 World Cup, because Fifa boss Sep Blatter has already said the 2018 finals would likely be held in the northern hemisphere.

Blatter, speaking in Australia earlier this year at Fifa's Congress, said that after being played in South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014 "it's a logical approach that the World Cup 2018 competition would go back to the [northern] continent." - Sapa-DPA

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