lundi 4 mai 2015

AFC would back any China World Cup bid

China's hopes of one day hosting a World Cup would receive the full backing of Asia's governing body more than 25 years after the idea was first mooted, according to AFC general secretary Alex Soosay.

Speaking in an interview with Reuters, the Malaysian administrator also said that the region deserved more spots at the finals and that the image of Asian soccer was recovering after years of suffering under its previous leadership.
Soosay, talking after this week's Asian Football Confederation Congress in Bahrain, said that China had the potential to host the World Cup, an idea first proposed by former FIFA president Joao Havelange in the late 1980s.
"China has had a bit of a pitfall here and there, domestically they were hit by corruption but now they are back on track," Soosay said.
"At the Asian Cup this year they were a force to be reckoned with (after reaching the quarter-finals). China has everything a World Cup should offer.
"They have the facilities, they have the infrastructure, they have the economy. So I don't think you can deny China.
"China hosted the Asian Cup in 2004 and it was a remarkable event. I believe they have the potential.
"Asia has always backed China. Hopefully, the prospect of hosting a World Cup will further propel Chinese football."
Asia previously hosted the 2002 World Cup, jointly hosted by Japan and South Korea, with the 2022 tournament set to be held in Qatar.
The 2019 FIFA Congress will decide where the 2026 tournament will take place with the 2023 Congress selecting the host of the subsequent tournament four years later.
With the regional rotation policy now scrapped, it is possible that the World Cup could return to Asia sooner than it might have done under previous rules.
Soosay added that Asia, currently given four guaranteed World Cup berths and the possibility of a fifth through an inter-continental playoff, should be awarded another finalist.
"We definitely deserve another half-slot," he said. "We have four-and-a-half now and we deserve another half."
None of Asia's teams at last year's World Cup won a match in Brazil, the region's representatives gaining just three draws in their combined 12 group stage matches.
However, Soosay said that although their results were disappointing, their performances were encouraging and Asian teams have made progress in the past, citing South Korea as co-hosts reaching the semi-finals in 2002.
"Yes Brazil was a disappointment but the teams were prepared, and look at Iran against Argentina, Iran hit the woodwork, if that ball had gone in, it would have been a different story altogether.
"As it was Argentina won with a last-minute goal from (Lionel) Messi but we have made progress.
"We are hosting the World Cup in Qatar in 2022. We do not want Asian teams to be embarrassed there, which is why Andy Roxburgh has come in as our new technical director.
"Asia's dream is to win the World Cup which is why we brought Andy in."
Neither Roxburgh, the former Scotland boss and UEFA technical director, nor Soosay would predict when an Asian team would win the World Cup, but the Malaysian said that Asian football had already emerged a winner in one respect.
"The image of Asian football has suffered in the past but we now want to restore (it)," he said.
"We have a new president in Shaikh Salman of Bahrain. He has a vision to lead Asian football forwards... We are showing this is a new era for Asian football."


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Journaliste spécialisé dans l'actualité sportive, j'ai collaboré, entre autres, à So Foot, Libération, Radio France Internationale. Aujourd'hui, je suis particulièrement les politiques sportives au plan national et dans les collectivités locales pour Localtis.