In somewhat of a surprise move Chinese officials have stated that the country could be interested in hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup. And this bit of news out of Beijing hasn't gone down well with the Asian bidders for the 2022 FIFA World Cup as FIFA under its rotation policy is not going to grant the rights to host two consecutive World Cup's to the same confederation. And FIFA insiders have been repeating for years that China and India are the markets to develop for the future of the beautiful game.
The news came out over the weekend just before a FIFA inspection team was set to arrive in Japan which will be followed by stopovers in South Korea, Australia and Qatar plus the bidders from other continents. This Chinese push forward also means that the idea on an Indian World Cup in 2030 could be pushed back in the FIFA cycle. I know it is just a thought at the moment, but lets at least dream about 2030 and India.
The Chinese FA secretary Wei Di told the China Daily, "I think China should apply for the World Cup. We will make an official report to the sport's governing body shortly."
"We have so many fans that are crazy for football and they care for our national team so much, we should give them a chance to watch the World Cup on home soil."
"Hosting the World Cup was not only about development or the tournament's commercial value to soccer, it also helped unite South Africa as a nation."
"With China's status and influence in the international community, and with our infrastructure - which is no worse than South Africa's - how could we not be confident enough to bid for the World Cup?"
That surely is a confident push forward by Wei Di, which means that discussions and negotiations will start as the decision on the 2018 & 2022 FIFA World Cup will be taken in December 2010. And if China's interest becomes serious by then, then the Asian bidders for 2022 could lose out on their chance to host football's biggest spectacle. Then a FIFA World Cup in China is a no-brainer with the financial benefits on the cards with multinationals and football-related companies surely set to support such a bid.
It is an interesting development. Lets see how it pans out...