The Sun News

Chinese President reaffirms desire to host World Cup

Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed his country’s desire to host the World Cup “in the future” during a meeting with FIFA counterpart Gianni Infantino.
Xi told Infantino the nation wishes to stage FIFA’s flagship competition “at some stage”.
Speculation has been growing in recent months that China, which has never hosted the tournament, would launch a bid for either the 2030 or 2034 World Cup.
Xi is spearheading a drive to develop Chinese football and has not hidden his wish that the country will one day host the event, with a view to eventually lifting the trophy.
It includes plans to make the game accessible to more than 30 million primary and secondary school children by 2020, as well as creating up to 20,000 football schools and laying 70,000 pitches.
“In addition the Chinese President expressed his hope, and the dream of many Chinese people, that the country would have the opportunity to host a FIFA Men’s World Cup at some stage in the future,” a FIFA statement released after the meeting said.
China is not officially allowed to enter the race for the 2030 tournament at this stage as FIFA’s current rules prevent another Asian country from bidding until 2034 at the earliest.
This is due to a continental rotation policy with Qatar staging the competition in 2022.
FIFA’s ruling Council discussed the idea of altering their statutes regarding its World Cup rotation policy to go against the ruling “if circumstances so require” during its meeting prior to the Congress in Bahrain last month.
It was not put forward to the full Congress as FIFA instead decided to install a working group to look into any possible statute changes.
Speculation of a possible bid has also been fuelled by sponsorship deals struck between Chinese companies and world football’s governing body.
Three companies from the nation – smartphone provider Vivo, electronics maker Hisense and Dalian Wanda Group – have all signed agreements with FIFA in the past year.
Vivo and Hisense are both sponsors of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, while media conglomerate Dalian became a top-level FIFA partner in March 2016.

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