November 9 - FIFA President Sepp Blatter today claimed that if Korea hosted the 2022 World Cup it had the potential to unite the divided northern and southern halves of the country.
Category: South Korea
Published on Tuesday, 09 November 2010 23:58
Blatter made his remarks during a visit to Seoul where he was awarded the awarded the country's Order of Merit for Sports by South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak.
"There is no doubt that Korea should be ready to organise a good World Cup," said Blatter.
"Football is more than a game, as it has a socio-cultural impact and can therefore connect people all over the world."
South Korea were joint hosts of the 2002 World Cup with Japan, and the country's team became the first from Asia to reach the semi-finals of the tournament that year.
At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa they reached the last 16 for the first time away from home, while North Korea took part in the event again after a 44-year absence.
President Lee agreed with Blatter and said he believed football could bridge the gap between the North and South of the penninsula, which have been separated by a fortified border since conflict ended in a truce in the 1950's.
The chairman of the country's bid committee Han Sung-Joo has also expressed his desire for North Korea to be involved in the bid, should it prove successful.
"FIFA and football play a very important role in fostering peace and friendship across the world," Lee said.
"Football is the only common link which can unite the people of the two Koreas.
"Organising the FIFA World Cup would bring a message of hope and peace not only to the Korean peninsula, but also to the world."
South Korea are considered the outsiders in the race for 2022, where they face rivals Australia, Japan Qatar and the United States.
But they will be encouraged by Blatter's remarks.
"I can say that with all my determination, Korea is a good bidding association and the bidding company for the World Cup 2022," he said.
"Even a very good one. Not only good one - very good"Related storiesOctober 2010: Korea has as much chance for 2022 World Cup as rivals claims ChungSeptember 2010: China 2026 bid strengthens United States 2022 campaignJuly 2010: Bin Hammam vows to back Qatar 2022 World Cup bidJuly 2010: FIFA inspectors arrive in South KoreaJuly 2010: David Owen - No China Crisis yet for Asian 2022 World Cup bidders