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Australia eyes hosting 2030 or 2034 World Cup

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Australian football chiefs are formulating plans to host either the men’s 2030 or 2034 World Cup to build on the country’s successful bid for the women’s 2023 tournament, top officials said Thursday.

The move follows Australia’s failed tilt for the 2022 event, which was funded with Aus$45 million (US$33 million) of taxpayer money but garnered just one vote, with Qatar controversially winning the race.

But Football Australia chief executive James Johnson believes the time could be right to try again, on the back of the joint hosting with New Zealand of the 2023 women’s World Cup and the country being awarded the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.

“We’ll host a great competition in 2023,” he told The Australian newspaper.

“We’re going to wrap a legacy around it for the game, but we’ve got to squeeze more juice out of this and it could be a stepping stone with a successful delivery of that toward more FIFA competitions.

“And there’s a trend,” he added. “Look at Canada, which hosted the women’s World Cup in 2015 and 11 years later they’re going to host the men’s World Cup with the US (and Mexico). Look at Brazil -– they hosted the World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in 2016.”

Johnson conceded the 2030 tournament was likely to go to Europe or South America, given the next one is in Qatar, which like Australia is part of the Asian Football Confederation, and the 2026 event is in North America.

But 2034 was more open.

Preliminary discussions between Football Australia and state-based major events officials have already taken place, according to former Sydney 2000 Olympics bid chief Rod McGeoch.

He now heads up Destination New South Wales and told the newspaper he was working on building support to move an official bid forward.

“I have started (working on a possible bid) for 2030… I feel we have got to start,” he said.

“We are quietly working away and with the women’s World Cup in 2023, that is a big opportunity for us (as) FIFA will have an office in (Sydney).”

The Australian team has qualified for the last four World Cups and is on track to make it five in a row in Qatar.

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