Infantino supports rule change to encourage Chinese bid for 2030 World Cup

Newly re-elected Fifa president Gianni Infantino has said that he will support changes to the governing body’s rules to allow China to bid for the 2030 World Cup.

Fifa presently has a rotation policy in place that prevents the same confederation hosting two out of any three World Cup finals tournaments. 

With the 2022 edition set to take place in Qatar, the current rules would not allow China, or any other Asian Football Confederation country, to bid to host a World Cup until 2034. 

Speaking at the Fifa Congress in Paris following his unopposed re-election as president, however, Infantino expressed hope that the rules would be changed at the next Fifa Council meeting – which happens to be taking place in Shanghai in October.

“I don’t know if [a Chinese bid] will be possible,” said Infantino. “These decisions are taken by the council, and we will discuss this at our next meeting. But for me, the more the merrier.”

Infantino’s encouraging words towards a Chinese bid lend credence to the widely-held view that Fifa is determined to hold a tournament in the world’s most populous nation, as it looks to take full commercial advantage of the rapidly expanding middle class in the country and its growing interest in football. 

The race to stage the 2030 World Cup is set to begin in earnest in the next 12 months, with a final decision likely to be taken at the 2024 Fifa Congress. The tournament will be the 100th anniversary edition, and a multi-nation South American bid led by Uruguay, the host of the first-ever World Cup, has been a long-standing favourite to win the hosting rights. 

A British and Irish joint bid is also expected, with the five FAs currently conducting a feasibility study into the strategy and their chances of success. 

A Balkan bid, comprising Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia, and an inter-continental proposal from Morocco, Portugal and Spain, are among the other rivals. 

Most recent

Matt Carroll, chief executive of the Australian Olympic Committee, tells Adam Nelson how a focus on athlete engagement, grassroots participation and community schemes has helped to boost the AOC’s commercial programme throughout the Olympic cycle.

The decision by the ATP Council not to renew Chris Kermode's contract as ATP executive chairman and president caused surprise when it was announced in March. Ben Cronin speaks to the outgoing tennis chief about his record.

A Ukranian billionaire is funding the latest effort to turn swimming into a regular competitive professional sport and not just one of the most popular events at the Summer Olympics.

Fan excitement over the acquisition of the star free agent has fueled the MLB club to what is by far the league's largest per-game attendance increase. But Paul Hagen examines how the organization is already thinking long-term and looking to sustain fan engagement over Harper's entire 13-year deal.