Thailand’s ambitious bid to co-host 2034 FIFA World Cup gathers pace

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The FIFA World Cup and official ball of FIFA World Cup 2018. File photo

The prospect of Thailand co-hosting the 2034 FIFA World Cup is gathering pace following a meeting between key officials.

On Monday, (July 4) Dr. Niwat Limsuknirand, Director-General of the Department of Physical Education met with Mr. Khiev Sameth, President of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF), Mr. Winston Lee, Secretary-General of AFF, and Mr. Patit Suphapong, Secretary-General of the Thai Football Association held a meeting in Chiang Mai.

In addition, experts from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, who will co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, also joined the meeting via video conference.

Mr. Patit confirmed the meeting took place in order for all parties to share information about the possibility of hosting the World Cup.

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Mr. Patit said that the next step will see the formation of a Technical Working Group (TWG) between representatives from various ASEAN government agencies.

Mr Patit said that as with any formal bid to host the World Cup, the sign off must come from the head of government of that particular country who then passes it to the country’s football association to present to FIFA.

A detailed proposal about a bid involving Thailand to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup is expected to be released later this year.

The prospect of ASEAN countries co-hosting the World Cup in 2034 was first mooted in 2017 and more recently in 2019.

Back then it was reported that Thailand saw itself as the lead organiser of the event, with fellow co-hosts including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

It’s not only Thailand which has touted the possibility of an ASEAN World Cup bid.

In June, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called on all ASEAN member states to unite in order to make a bid to host the World Cup.

PM Hun Sen said he would raise the prospect of hosting the World Cup with other bloc leaders in his role as the ASEAN chair.

“For 2022, as ASEAN chair, I want to see ASEAN have a vision and plan to make a bid to host the football World Cup in 2034 or 2038. I will look into the feasibility and request that ASEAN leaders support this initiative and make it a realistic possibility,” he said.

South Korea and Japan remain the only Asian nations to host the World Cup, holding the event in 2002.

Countries wishing to stage the 2034 World Cup have until 2026 to submit their bid to FIFA.

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