Australia should explore the possibility of a regional bid to co-host the men’s football World Cup after it stages the women’s event with New Zealand next year, Football Australia Chief Executive James Johnson said on Tuesday. Johnson said another joint bid with New Zealand was one route to consider, while Australia could also look to partner with nations in Southeast Asia.
“(Canada) started off hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2015 and you fast-forward to 2024 and they’re co-host of the men’s (2026) World Cup,” he said.
“I think we’ve got to look at us as a region and yes, absolutely with New Zealand, but also we’ve got a lot of eyeballs and a lot of growth in Southeast Asia as well, so I think we need to explore both.”
Australia had bid for the 2022 finals but lost out to Qatar, while Canada, Mexico, and the United States will co-host the World Cup in 2026.
China’s decision to relinquish hosting rights for next year’s Asian Cup has also prompted speculation that Australia could step in to stage the continental championship.
However, while Johnson said Football Australia had consulted with the Asian Football Confederation a bid was unlikely unless the event was moved to later in the calendar as the schedule would clash with the Women’s World Cup.
“The important thing for us is when the competition is going to be played,” Johnson said.
“At the moment, it’s scheduled to be played in the middle of 2023.
“That just doesn’t work for us because we’re hosting the Women’s World Cup around the same time, so we are talking to AFC about whether or not they would be open to a January or February 2024.
“If that’s a possibility, then it’s something that we would explore in a meaningful way.”