China bides time in World Cup bid

08:16, June 11, 2010      

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As the World Cup makes its debut on the African continent, many people are speculating when the star-studded tournament will arrive in China.

One thing is for sure: It certainly will not be in the next 16 years.

After South Africa, the finals will move to Brazil in 2014, and as China has not entered bids to host either the 2018 or 2022 tournaments, it could be a while before the country gets a crack at hosting the FIFA World Cup.

Media reports suggested the Chinese Football Association could make a play for the event in 2026, with several games in Hong Kong.

However, Wei Di, chairman of the sport's ruling body, has since denied any such plan.

"Bidding for the World Cup is good for our people and the society," Wei told the press. "China has successfully held the 2008 Beijing Olympics and I believe we're also able to hold the World Cup.

"But (the time to bid) is still uncertain," he added.

After the success of the Beijing Games, China did consider bidding for the 2018 and 2022 games and even won vocal support from FIFA's president Sepp Blatter. In the end, football chiefs decided against it.

China now has seven stadiums, of which four have a capacity of more than 60,000, including the Bird Nest in Beijing.

While the infrastructure seems not to be a problem, the struggling state of the sport is.

Despite the national team's unexpected 1-0 victory over France in the friendly match last Friday, China stands at 85th in the FIFA world rankings, just above Mozambique and just after this year's World Cup hosts South Africa.

"I'm afraid China would become the first host team to be eliminated in the group stages of the World Cup finals if we stayed it," said Wu Hao, a Beijing student.

The Chinese fans also need to improve if the country hopes to host the beautiful game's biggest tournament, said Wang Wen, president of the Beijing Soccer Fans' Association, who is just about to travel to his fourth-consecutive World Cup.

"Soccer has an excellent tradition in Europe and fans there understand the sport much better than Chinese fans," he said. "There professionalism and love for the game in impressive.

"Just having a good stadium is not enough for China to host the World Cup," he added.

Source:China Daily

(Editor:梁军)

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