November 20 – The Chinese Football Association have moved to play down an apparent gaffe by national team manager Marcello Lippi after he was quoted as saying the country were making plans to bid for the 2030 World Cup.
Under FIFA rules, no Continent can stage the tournament if it has done so for either of the two previous editions – and Qatar are hosting 2022.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, a committed football fan, has made it clear he wants the country, who have only ever qualified once, to stage the World Cup at some stage but despite reports to the contrary, 2034 is a far more likely proposition than 2030.
Lippi was quoted telling the Chengdu Business Daily after two recent friendly defeats: “What I also want to tell you is that the Chinese FA will bid for the 2030 World Cup.”
The comments were widely picked up in other state media, but the CFA was quick to respond, saying in a statement: “We reiterate that the FA did not say which World Cup it will bid for. This kind of information is not officially confirmed and is the media’s interpretation.”
Last summer UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin threw his weight behind a European bid for 2030, saying UEFA would ‘fight’ to host the tournament that year.
Čeferin stated that the “regulations are clear – you cannot bid for the next two World Cups” regarding an Asian bid after 2022.
“I think it’s Europe’s turn in 2030, clearly,” said Ceferin.
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