x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Fresh bid for World Cup

Australia have officially joined the race to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup after submitting a bid to Fifa.

Australia have officially joined the race to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup after submitting a bid to Fifa. Applications were due to be lodged with Fifa by today, with candidates able to bid for either or both tournaments. In October the Australian Government announced it would contribute A$45.6 million (Dh111m) towards the bid process as they aim to bring arguably the world's showpiece sporting event to Australasia for the first time. Fifa have hinted in the past the Football Federation of Australia's (FFA) best hope of hosting the tournament will be in 2022, with the likelihood of the 2018 World Cup returning to the northern hemisphere as South Africa (2010) and Brazil (2014) are set to host the next two events. But despite the FFA also facing strong opposition from England, Russia, United States, South Korea, Indonesia, Qatar and a joint bid from Portugal and Spain, they remain confident of being successful. "Australia is part of the fastest growing region in world football and I think that is very important to FIFA. It's very important to us and it's very important to the Asian Football Federation," FFA spokesperson Bonita Mersiades told Sky Sports News. "Whether that is an advantage or a disadvantage, it is too soon to say one way or the other. But I think the great thing about opening it up to any country and going beyond the rotation system is that it gives a number of countries the opportunity to put their hands up. "It also shows the strength of football around the world. There are 13 countries and 11 bidders for the 2018 and/or 2022 World Cup and the fact that there is such a strong interest shows it truly is the global game and a game people want to be part of. "All around the world people are vying for it and I think that's a positive sign for the sport as a whole." A decision on the successful bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup will be made in December next year. Fifa are also due to announce next month whether they will accept joint bids. * PA Sport