Infantino says would welcome China bid for 2030 World Cup

A day after China was named the host of the 2023 Asian Cup, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he would welcome a Chinese bid to stage the 2030 World Cup.

Gianni Infantino was re-elected for a second term as FIFA president on Wednesday.   -  AFP

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Wednesday that he would welcome a Chinese bid to stage the 2030 World Cup after the country was named to host the Asian Cup in 2023.

Qatar will host the 2022 finals, before a joint North American tournament in 2026 in Canada, the United States and Mexico.

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Bids from South America and Europe, including potentially from Britain and Ireland, have been mooted for what should be a 48-team competition in 2030.

“For me, as FIFA president, the more the merrier. The more bidders we have the happier I am,” said Infantino shortly after being re-elected by acclamation for a second term as president at the FIFA Congress in Paris.

It has been FIFA policy in the past for the different continents to take turns in hosting the finals, and Infantino even said he wasn't sure if a Chinese bid would be considered for 2030, just eight years after it goes to Qatar.

RELATED| China to host 2023 Asian Cup

However, China's President, Xi Jinping, has stated his aim for the country to stage the showpiece one day, with 2030 and 2034 often mentioned as possibilities. It was announced as the host of the 2023 Asian Cup on Tuesday.

“We will discuss it in the coming months, including at the next FIFA Council in October in Shanghai, and there we will put down some markers in terms of timing and so on,” Infantino said .

When asked when a decision would be taken on 2030, he replied: “The next presidential election is in 2023 so I guess it will be in 2022 or 2024, and we will see if China can bid.

- Infantino eyes '$50 billion' windfall for new Club World Cup -

Infantino believes his new Club World Cup could generate as much as $50 billion in commercial income when it starts in 2021.

The Club World Cup, in its present format, involves only seven teams, but he believes a 24-team competition will bring in huge sums, possibly even more than the $25 billion previously quoted.

“In terms of commercialisation I hope to make 50 billion, not 25. I'm not sure we'll get them but I hope so,” Infantino said, although he did not state how many editions that would cover.

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A source told AFP that such a figure was “scarcely credible” given that the initial offer of $25 billion covered three editions of the Club World Cup and three editions of a global Nations League, with the latter project subsequently having been abandoned.

The plan for a new 24-team Club World Cup starting in 2021 -- with the participation of eight teams from Europe -- was approved at the FIFA Council meeting in Miami in March despite opposition from UEFA and the powerful European Club Association.

An offer of $25 billion to invest in the new Club World Cup is believed to have come from a group of investors in Asia and the Middle East, although their names have never been revealed by FIFA.

However, Infantino insisted that FIFA would still own the rights to its new competition. “We have decided to have a Club World Cup in 2021, we will commercialise it, and we will see what comes in,” he said.

“It was never a question of a financial investor taking over the competition. The rights always remained with FIFA,” he added.