Australia likely to follow women’s World Cup with a bid for men’s in 2034

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LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) – The women’s World Cup could be the springboard for a future Australian bid to co-host the men’s tournament, possibly in 2034, Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said on Saturday.

Australia bid unsuccessfully for the 2022 finals that were hosted by Qatar but is putting on the women’s World Cup together with New Zealand in July and August.

Johnson told Reuters that the women’s World Cup was “just the start”.

“Where there are opportunities to bring big events to Australia, in football, is something that is absolutely interesting for us,” he said.

“2034 could be a time that we bid but we need to deliver the women’s World Cup first to make sure that we can walk the talk, so to speak.

“Once we’ve delivered that we think it will be a good platform for us to talk about what’s next. And that’s a conversation we’re looking to get into very soon.”

The next men’s World Cup in 2026 will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico while the 2030 one has yet to be allocated but will be the turn of Europe, Africa or South America.

Johnson said a 48-team World Cup, expanded from 32 in Qatar, would probably be too much for Australia alone.

“So what that means tactically is for a future bid for Australia we would have to partner with other countries,” he added.

“We share a very close relationship with New Zealand…but there would need to be probably discussions with other nations within our region, particularly Southeast Asia, about joining a future bid.

“I think that’s a conversation that would be interesting for our government, particularly with where its foreign policy focus is. But its something we’ll get into once we’ve delivered the women’s World Cup so we can talk from a concrete example of work that’s been done about what we can do in the future.”

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