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Sepp Blatter says Australia deserves to host FIFA World Cup
Sepp Blatter, President of world football governing body FIFA, has opened his campaign for re-election to FIFA's most senior role by saying Australia deserves to host the World Cup and that it is an “unfortunate omission” the country has not done so before.
Australia gained only one vote when bidding for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which was won by Qatar, and some FIFA observers believe Blatter was the one member of the world governing body’s executive committee who did vote for them.
In his first column in Fifa Weekly magazine since confirming he will be a candidate for May’s election, Blatter wrote “Australia is the only continent never to have hosted the World Cup finals, although the 1981 and 1993 Under-20 World Cups took place there.
“That is basically an unfortunate omission in sporting history because very few countries boast such a rich sporting culture and long list of champions.
“Sport, with football in a central role, is a defining element in day-to-day life in Australia, not least for women and youths. The 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne and the 2000 edition in Sydney set new benchmarks for their eras.
“So we can say with confidence that it would be more than deserved if Australia were to stage the World Cup at some point,” added Blatter, who is in Australia for the climax of the Asian Cup.
While the full list of candidates aiming for FIFA's Presidency has not yet been published it is believed to include Blatter, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, the Dutch Federation President Michael van Praag, the former Portugal international Luis Figo, the French former diplomat Jérôme Champagne and the former Tottenham Hotspur and France winger David Ginola.
These are likely to be confirmed early next week and then FIFA’s electoral committee will decide who is ruled out by having failed to secure five nominations from among the 209 national associations that make up the governing body.
Blatter, Prince Ali, Figo and Van Praag all have at least five nominations confirmed but Champagne has been working hard to find enough backers while Ginola’s campaign looks set to be disallowed because of his involvement with an online betting agency.
1st July 2010 - BUCKLEY DEFENDS AUSTRALIA’S FIFA WORLD CUP BID
3rd February 2009 - AUSTRALIA ENTERS RACE FOR FIFA WORLD CUP
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