Australia to bid for FIFA World Cup 2018
Australia is to bid for the soccer World Cup in 2018.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced the government's backing for the bid, saying it's a natural follow-on from the popularity of the game in Australia and the success of the Socceroos in the 2006 event.
The prestigious tournament is the second-largest sporting event in the world, watched by about 26 billion people around the globe.
Hosting it would generate tens of billions of dollars for the Australian economy, Fairfax newspapers report.
Mr Rudd said Australia faces an uphill battle for hosting rights against rivals England, China, Mexico and Canada.
"Winning the rights to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup is a herculean task, but overcoming tough odds is what Australian football does best," he told Fairfax.
"For an Australian world cup bid to be successful, the FFA (Football Federation Australia) will need the full and united support of the commonwealth and state and territory governments."
FFA chief executive Ben Buckley will head the bid team, which includes state and federal government representatives.
Mr Rudd said the team would meet next week to begin planning the bid, the cost of which would be shared between federal and state governments.
FFA chairman, Westfield boss Frank Lowy, has met with Mr Rudd to brief him on the merits of hosting the World Cup.
"In the same way Australia has developed a relationship with all levels of India by virtue of our common cricket interests, soccer - which is the huge sport in every Asian country - is an entree to promoting Australia's interests around the world," Mr Lowy's spokesman Mark Ryan told News Ltd newspapers.
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