Australia's 2018 bid alive despite Asia snub
Australia remains in the bidding to host the 2018 World Cup despite the Asian confederation declaring the event should go to Europe.
Australia is bidding for either the 2018 or 2022 event, even though the consensus is that 2018 will, indeed, go to Europe.
Asian Football Confederation president Mohammad bin Hammam, speaking at an AFC meeting Tuesday, officially threw his organization's support behind Europe - somewhat unusual with one of its members still in the running.
``We have a bid for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups,'' Football Federation of Australia chairman Frank Lowy said Wednesday while making a charity appearance at a primary school in Randfontein. ``It's also our decision (whether) to pull out. Right now, we haven't done that. If we do, we will let the world know.''
Asked to comment on Bin Hammam's snub, Lowy said: ``He's said what he has said. He is my boss. We are bidding.''
Bin Hammam said individual FIFA executive committee members from Asia would not have to follow the official AFC stance.
``It will be an open bid and everybody is free to support anyone,'' Bin Hammam said. ``But our support is for Europe when it comes to 2018. The mood inside the FIFA executive committee is that Europe should host the 2018 version.''
The FFA's bids have been backed by the Australian government. Australian sports minister Kate Ellis, who was at the charity event, said the government will take advantage of the Socceroos' participation in this World Cup to push its own campaign.
``Certainly, Australians have shown that they are serious about this bid,'' Ellis said. ``We will continue working hard in South Africa to make sure that it's a success. We are really excited about being in South Africa.''
Australia is the only Asian country bidding for both 2018 and 2022, and FIFA will announce the winners in December. Australia is competing with England, Russia, the United States and joint bids from Netherlands-Belgium and Spain-Portugal for 2018.
Japan, South Korea and Bin Hammam's home nation of Qatar are bidding for 2022 only.