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Co-host Football World Cup with New Zealand

Roar Guru
8th December, 2009
52
2022 Reads
New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert, left, and captain Ryan Nelsen reacts after their team's 1-0 win over Bahrain in the World Cup qualifying playoff second leg soccer match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. (AP Photo/NZPA, Ross Setford)

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert, left, and captain Ryan Nelsen reacts after their team's 1-0 win over Bahrain in the World Cup qualifying playoff second leg soccer match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. (AP Photo/NZPA, Ross Setford)

Back in June, I wrote an article speculating whether the NRL and AFL would “play ball” (pun intended) with Australia’s bid to host the 2018/2022 Football World Cup. It appears since then that some of the concerns raised have come to fruition.

As I see it, there appears to be two major problems with Australia’s Cup bid.

The first is that the other major sporting codes are concerned their seasons will be dramatically affected, mainly due to lack of access to stadiums.

The second is a lack of suitable stadiums period, hence the need to build more if the bid is successful.

However, building new giant stadiums just for a World Cup has the potential to create white elephants that never get filled again. These concerns are currently playing out with South Africa’s 90,000 capacity Soccer City stadium.

So it got me thinking: why not put a joint bid with New Zealand?

This idea has some merit for several reasons.

First of all, joint bids for World Cups are not uncommon. They occur regularly for the European championship and occurred with Japan/South Korea hosting the World Cup in 2002.

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Sometimes I think a joint bid can have more sway as you have more people behind the bid.

Second, it would take the pressure off the FFA to provide all the stadiums, hence reduce the friction with the AFL and NRL as more stadiums will be available.

Thirdly, New Zealand’s interest in football will have jumped recently after the All Whites qualified for the 2010 World Cup. They also have decent stadiums that can cater for World Cup games.

It sounds plausible, but there are some problems with the joint bid set up.

Isolation and travel is the major concern.

This has already been highlighted as the major stumbling block for an Ocenania bid, simply because it is so far away from other countries. Throwing New Zealand into the mix adds potential additional travel and difficulty in setting up base camps for teams.

Plus, Perth may be concerned about missing out altogether in favour of New Zealand.

The other problem is childish squabbling between Australia and New Zealand authorities.

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A deal to jointly host the 2003 rugby World Cup fell through, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that reared its ugly head. The key would be to be sensible about it, just like Japan and Korea were.

They agreed one would host the first game, the other the final.

All options should be thought through on this bid.

Even with New Zealand as host, Australia would still get the major games and most likely the final due to our stadiums having larger capacity.

So let us bring the boys from across the Tasman along for the ride.

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