China won't rush into World Cup soccer bid

Show Grid

Show Grid

Zhang Jian, China's newly elected Fifa council member, says a World Cup bid from the country will come "sooner or later" and said his elevation to world football's main decision-making body would boost the country's status in world football.

Mr Zhang, speaking at the World Soccer Forum in Changsha, told state news agency Xinhua that China would not rush into a bid and would do so only when conditions were right.

The earliest China can realistically host will be in 2030, though they could in theory bid for 2026 in the unlikely event there are no bids from Fifa's North and Central America, Caribbean, Oceania or South America regions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is an avid football fan and has spoken of his desire for the country to qualify for another World Cup since their first and only appearance at the 2002 finals, then to host a World Cup, and to eventually win one.

The country is in the midst of a football boom, with Chinese Super League clubs spending huge sums to lure overseas coaches and players while the nation's businessmen have been buying up some of the game's leading teams.

"But as for the specific bid for which World Cup, it must be based on a comprehensive assessment of all aspects of the situation. At the same time the World Cup bid is also a national project - it's not just the Chinese Football Association that can decide such a thing; we will base it on the development of the situation.it's a major [project] that we will seriously study".

The FIFA council consists of 37 members after recent the structural reform with one president, eight vice-presidents, and 28 other members elected by member associations. "I wish to best integrate Chinese football with not only the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) but also global emergence", says Zhang, "Internationally, the expansion of Chinese football market means more benefits and opportunities for all that's in the industry".

Chung Mong-gyu, South Korean FA president and also elected by Asian nations to the Federation Internationale de Football Association council in Bahrain last week, has suggested that his country Japan, China - and possibly even North Korea - could team up to jointly bid for 2030.

Still catching up with the top level of the footballing world, Zhang says the Asian football industry has much work to do in order to close the gap. "However, Asian football has a lot of potential, considering its geographical size, population and market".

Latest News