Four Southeast Asian Countries to Jointly Bid to Co-host World Cup 2034
Winners have been announced. US-Mexico-Canada will jointly host the 2026 World Cup after FIFA voters overwhelmingly opted for the financial and logistical certainty of a United States-led bid over a risky Moroccan proposal for the first 48-team tournament.
The soccer showpiece will return to the U.S. for the first time since 1994 after gaining 134 votes, while Morocco got 65 at the FIFA Congress in Moscow.
The news reopens a debate as to whether something similar could happen in Southeast Asia.
There is good reason. One is that there has been talk at the highest levels in the region about a joint bid sometime around 2034. The expansion of the World Cup from 32 teams to 48 from 2026 has given what was an idea thrown around lightly, a little more weight.
There is obviously going to be more joint bids in the future with 48 teams providing a major logistical challenge. There are not that many single hosts able to cope with it all and less that would be willing to do so.
The ASEAN region has certain advantages. The sheer size of the market makes it attractive, one that over 600 million people call home. It is young and vibrant and growing in all kinds of ways, not least economically. Football is hugely popular.
There is no region on the world’s biggest continent that has the same passion for the game and it is virgin World Cup territory. Only Indonesia, under the guise of Dutch East Indies in 1938, has appeared on the world stage. In the eight decades since, there has been little hint of a return.
A World Cup in the region, harnessed in the correct way, has the potential to serve as a major boost to development of the game. There is no doubt that FIFA would be interested and Southeast Asia excited.
And there's a new development.
As reported by The Star, Malaysia could be part of a joint bid from four Southeast Asia countries to host the 2034 Fifa World Cup in this region for the first time ever.
Fifa executive committee member Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said the football governing bodies from Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have expressed their interest in a joint bid for the 2034 World Cup.
The former Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president said he was unsure about Malaysia's stand on the matter but feels that there should be no problems if Malaysia become a co-host of the biggest show on Earth.
"I think there will be no problem if the four countries make a joint bid for the World Cup.
"Asean has an opportunity and strength to put a joint bid as it allows three or four countries to co-host the event... similarly like the United States, Canada and Mexico winning the bid as joint hosts in 2026.
“It is time for the Asean region to be given an opportunity, and it will allow the countries to improve their infrastructures and strengthen their respective national teams... there is enough time," said Tengku Abdullah.
In July last year, Indonesia's football association vice-president Joko Driyono announced that the country is set to lead a consortium of Southeast Asian countries in an ambitious bid to host the 2034 World Cup.
Malaysia's then Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said a feasibility study will be conducted by the Asean countries on the World Cup bid. He said Malaysia was keen to be one of the hosts.
The deadline to register a bid for the 2034 World Cup is in 2026.
Let's go, ASEAN!