The Asean Football Federation (AFF) World Cup Committee, which was formed in 2013, is looking forward to working with the Asean Secretariat and other key partners to realise the region’s dream of jointly hosting the FIFA World Cup.

AFF President Major General Khiev Sameth said after the AFF Competition Committee meeting that part of the agenda was spent on discussing Asean’s desire to host the FIFA World Cup with all member countries already affirming their support towards it.

“AFF formed the World Cup committee six years ago when the idea was first mooted by several MAs. We knew the region had the potential to successfully host the FIFA World Cup and have been exploring the possibility ever since,” said Sameth.

“So we are looking forward to working with the Asean Secretariat where FIFA – as the world governing body of football – has given the responsibility of exacting the mechanism of bidding for any FIFA tournaments on Member Countries and also the AFF which is a recognized body by the AFC.

“Hosting the World Cup in Asean, which is collectively the third largest economy in Asia and the seventh largest in the world, will generate massive economic and sporting benefits for this region where football is the number one sport. More importantly, it will strengthen the bond among the 640 million people.”

Towards that, the AFF has welcomed the call by ASEAN Chairman, Gen Prayuth Chan o-cha, that the 10 Asean member countries agreed to launch a joint bid.

“The AFF will be working closely with the Asean Secretariat where it will represent all Member Associations as a united front towards making an official bid,” added Sameth.

In the meantime Ratu Tisha Destria, the General Secretary of the FA of Indonesia (PSSI) said that she is looking forward to laying the foundation of what will be a great achievement for the region.

“As you would have already known, Indonesia was among the first country to voice our desire to host the FIFA World Cup alongside several other countries. So, we are very glad that this idea has been picked up at the governmental level where now, we have the chance of moving this idea forward with the AFF playing a major role in putting up a concerted bid,” said Tisha.

Added Thansak Supraset, the vice president of the FA of Thailand echoed that sentiment when he said: “now that we have government backing, we are seriously looking at improving the infrastructure able to support it. At the moment, the FAT is looking at building a new stadium not too far from the Suvarnabhumi Airport. We have a good chance of making this a reality with the AFF now having a strong presence.”

For the record, the idea of co-hosting the World Cup was first mooted by Japan and South Korea who went on to successfully stage the event in 2002. Asia will host the World Cup again in 2022 in Qatar. Last year, FIFA awarded the 2026 World Cup to another joint bid, from Canada, US and Mexico.

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