Football Federation Australia will receive A$45.6 million from the Australian Federal Government to officially launch and lobby for the 2018 World Cup, according to local press reports.
According to the Australian media, the Federal Cabinet had been considering the funding for some time but signed off on it — at levels slightly reduced — earlier this week. It is understood FFA sought more than $50 million but the economic crisis tempered the original expectations.
FFA will use the funding to set up the official bid team with a small, but influential executive led by FFA chairman Frank Lowy, and push Australia’s case to host the month-long tournament, which promises to boost tourism and attract a broadcast viewing audience in excess of 26 billion.
Government ministers have strongly supported the bid as a way to promote Australia and said that the money was a clear signal that the Government was fully behind Australia’s bid.
“This sends a clear message to the football world that Australia is serious about hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup,” Sport Minister Kate Ellis said.”The Australian Government will work in partnership with the Football Federation Australia and state and territory governments in a united approach to building the strongest bid possible for the 2018 event.”
It is hoped that the money, which will be paid over the next three years, will secure at least 13 votes from the 24-strong FIFA executive to gain Australia the World Cup ahead of rivals England, Russia, the US, Spain, Qatar, Mexico, a combined Netherlands-Belgium bid and a possible Asian rival, China.
It is expected that the bid will be lodged at the end of 2010 with a FIFA decision expected in March 2011.