Australia in denial over World Cup soccer snub

January 27th, 2010 - 5:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 27 (DPA) Football bosses denied Wednesday that Australia’s hopes of hosting the 2018 World Cup were all but lost after FIFA president Sepp Blatter spoke about the “movement to make the 2018 Cup a European affair.”
Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief Ben Buckley said he would meet Blatter in Luanda, the Angolan capital, to clarify remarks Blatter made to reporters in Madrid that a deal was being stitched up to hold the 2018 finals in Europe.

Angola is hosting the African Cup of Nations tournament, and both Blatter and Buckley are scheduled to attend.

“As far as we’re concerned, we’re still bidding for 2018 and 2022,” Buckley said before departing. “It’s business as usual. I don’t think the goalposts have changed.”

Blatter told reporters that he discussed restricting the 2018 bidding with UEFA President Michel Platini in Moscow.

“There is a movement at the moment among the various candidates that in the end it would be a good solution if the candidates for 2018 would only be those from Europe,” Blatter said. “It’s not been finally decided. But it’s the idea, also, to make the work of FIFA easier and especially that of the executive committee.”

Blatter has long warned Australia and other non-European bidders that their chances were slim.

Speaking in Sydney at the 2008 FIFA conference, Blatter said that, after being played in South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014: “It’s a logical approach that the World Cup 2018 competition would go back to the (European) continent).”

FIFA is to issue its decision on both the 2018 and 2022 finals at a December meeting in Zurich.

Japan and the United States have also flagged bids for 2018. South Korea, Indonesia and Qatar have skipped 2018 and are focusing lobbying on 2022.

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