Thailand to head Asean bid for 2034 World Cup

Paul Pogba celebrates France winning the 2018 Fifa World Cup (Matthias Hangst/Getty Images).

Thailand will lead a joint bid with four other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries for the 2034 Fifa World Cup, it has reportedly been agreed.

The Bangkok Post newspaper said the proposal was rubber-stamped at the fifth Asean Ministerial Meeting on Sports held in Manila, the Philippines on Wednesday. The other four countries in the proposed joint bid are Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, is reported to have stated yesterday’s meeting approved the joint bid for the national team football showpiece, with the other participants said to have agreed that Thailand play the lead role. Phiphat said he would take the proposal to the Thai government for approval at a later stage.

The other five members of the 10-nation Asean group are Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines. Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, sports officials from the Philippines and Thailand were said to have been putting momentum behind a bid by the region to host the 2034 World Cup.

Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez said the topic would be a focus of discussion at this week’s meeting. Last week, Phiphat said Thailand would be ready to host the event along with Asean countries, and a working committee, headed by the permanent secretary for sports and tourism, had been set up to work on the issue.

The prospect of a joint Asean bid for the 2034 World Cup dates back as far as 2013, and for a joint World Cup bid generally 1996, but the rhetoric has intensified in recent months. In June, Football Federation Australia (FFA) confirmed it was in talks with the Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) with a view to submitting a joint bid for the 2034 World Cup.

The revelation came just days after national leaders from the Asean voiced support for a multi-territory bid to host the World Cup in the region in 2034. Australia was not mentioned as part of the proposal at the time, but FFA stated it held talks with PSSI at a meeting.

The first World Cup to be held in Asia was co-hosted by Japan and South Korea in 2002, with Qatar to stage the next tournament in 2022.

Read this: Southeast Asia means business as Asean prepares Fifa World Cup 2034 bid