ASEAN’s Next Goal: Hosting World’s Biggest Football Tournament
ASEAN Secretariat, 19 January 2011
Football enthusiasts across the region have one more thing to cheer on: ASEAN is exploring entering the competition for its 10 Member States to host the FIFA World Cup, the world’s biggest football tournament, in 2030.
Started out as an informal discussion by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers last July in Ha Noi, the proposal has recently garnered a higher level of interest, following last week’s ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Lombok, during which the proposal became one of the highlights.
“I am very pleased with the unprecedented level of enthusiasm across the ASEAN region, particularly amongst our sport communities, about the decision to explore ASEAN’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup,” said the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan.
“We are still at an early stage of consultations and strategic discussion,” he continued, “but the advice and opinions that have been generated are most valued, and we expect the debate to continue and widen because we really learn a great deal from the public exchange.”
Malaysia has been tasked to prepare a proposal for the competition to be presented to the ASEAN Leaders at the 18th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in May. “The ASEAN Secretariat will work closely with Malaysia on this,” said Dr Surin. “This will be a long and arduous campaign and we need to be comprehensive and strategic in our approach,” he added.
“If ASEAN can work together on this ambitious undertaking, our international prestige and profile will certainly be enhanced, and the confidence in ASEAN will definitely be increased,” said Dr Surin. “The people will want to feel more ownership and identity of ASEAN, and be willing to participate more in ASEAN Community building efforts.”
Dr Surin added that ASEAN still has to work with existing mechanisms of FIFA. “The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) and the other sports authorities within ASEAN will certainly play an important role in this Herculean task,” he continued.
The World Cup is organised by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA). Individually, all 10 ASEAN Member States are listed as FIFA’s member associations. The Cup is staged every four years.