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ASEAN World Cup 2034. Why not?

ASEAN World Cup 2034. Why not?

There has been much talk in the media this week about a joint ASEAN bid for the World Cup with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and even Myanmar being touted as potential co-hosts.

It started in July this year when the vice-president of Indonesia’s football association (PSSI) Joko Driyono announced that his country had proposed leading a joint bid for the World Cup Finals, with a view to hosting the tournament in 2034.

The news immediately got the region buzzing, with excited fans dreaming of hosting the showpiece of the beautiful game in their backyard.

After all, with tourist-friendly, welcoming countries, millions of football crazy fans, and huge potential for football growth, there is arguably no better potential host region.

The influx of fans for a World Cup would not be a problem. The tourist infrastructure is already there in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia – these places deal with millions of their own citizens on a daily basis and already jointly handle millions of tourists each year.

Singapore National Stadium | FoX Sports Asia
Singapore National Stadium | FoX Sports Asia

As for stadiums, many in the region are already capable and practically ready to host World Cup games. Think Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno, Bandung Lautan Api Stadium, Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Jalil, the Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor, the Rajamangala in Bangkok and Singapore’s National Stadium.

Other stadia would obviously need a revamp and some new locations would probably need to be built, but with years to prepare and economic growth steady across the region then this shouldn’t prove to be a huge obstacle.

After all, if Brazil with its dilapidated infrastructure and economic problems, can successfully host a World Cup then what is stopping Southeast Asia from doing so?

- by Richard Hazeldine  (Fox Asia)


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