Australia eyes another FIFA World Cup bid but wants a partner this time around

Co-hosting the 2023 women’s World Cup with New Zealand could be a springboard to successfully bidding for the men’s tournament.

FIFA men's World Cup trophy (FIFA)
FIFA men's World Cup trophy (FIFA)

With the 2032 Olympics secured for Brisbane, Australia is now turning its attention to a possible bid for the men’s FIFA World Cup.

Football Federation Australia chief executive James Johnson confirms there is interest but that it will be necessary to find a co-host to make any potential effort successful, according to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald.

Australia’s solo bid for the 2022 World Cup did not go well, garnering only one vote from the FIFA Council in 2010 as Qatar controversially won the right to host the event.

The two countries that would make the most sense as partners for a bid would be Australia’s neighbors Indonesia and New Zealand.

Australia and New Zealand are co-hosting the 2023 Women’s World Cup. If the countries deliver a well-run and successful tournament, it would showcase their ability to graduate to the larger men’s World Cup.

Johnson cites the case of Canada, which hosted the women’s World Cup in 2015 and then was awarded the 2026 men’s World Cup as a co-host with the United States and Mexico.

Indonesia and Australia, under Johnson’s predecessor, held discussions in 2019 about a possible joint bid. Indonesia was one of the countries interested in hosting the 2032 Olympics which were awarded to Brisbane last month.

Johnson tells The Sydney Morning Herald that 2034 appears to be the earliest edition that Australia could realistically host. That’s because it is expected that Europe or South America will be in line to land the bid in 2030. South America last hosted in Brazil in 2014 while Russia was the last European host in 2018.

There have been several potential South American bids for 2030 discussed in recent years, all involving Uruguay as a co-host. Uruguay hosted the first World Cup in 1930 and is keen to be a part of the centenary.

The latest iteration has Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay teaming up.

A joint bid from Spain and Portugal is considered the early favorite among the European possibilities. Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia is another potential joint bid as is one from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Morocco, which lost out to the North American bid for 2026, is also interested in either a solo 2030 bid or a joint bid with Algeria and Tunisia.

If FIFA follows the guidelines it put in place for the 2026 bidding, Asia and North America will not be allowed to take part in the process since those two continental confederations would have hosted the previous two World Cups.

The bidding process for the 2030 World Cup is expected to begin next year with a decision on a host to be made at FIFA’s 2024 Congress.

Should Australia land the World Cup in 2034, it would be the third straight decade that a country would host an Olympics and World Cup within two years. Brazil hosted the World Cup in 2014 followed by Rio 2016 and the United States will co-host the 2026 World Cup followed by the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.