S’pore co-hosting 2034 World Cup would mean auto qualification
The only way Singapore will qualify for the World Cup.
The idea that Singapore could co-host the 2034 World Cup with neighbouring Southeast Asian countries has been mooted.
Although still a passing thought and considered to be in the most preliminary of preliminary stages of discussion, Singapore’s name is one of several to be thrown up as a potential host country in this region given our infrastructure.
Yes, the state of local football aside, the idea of a combined Asean bid surfaced as early as 2011.
The then-Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin said that the proposal for the 2030 World Cup had been made at an Asean Foreign Ministers meeting.
In 2013, Zainudin reiterated that it was still a “target and goal”.
In a visit to Singapore in December in 2016, Fifa chief Gianni Infantino told media that he was in favour of having more than one host for future editions of the World Cup.
This is so as the United States, Mexico and Canada are considering a combined bid for the 2026 event.
Earlier this February, the Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) said that a joint bid from Asean had been discussed during a visit by Infantino to Yangon.
To play in World Cup, organise it
The impetus to be part of the world tournament is obvious, not in spite of the current state of Singapore football, but because of it.
From 2026 onwards, the World Cup tournament will expand from 32 teams to 48. The tradition has always been to give host country automatic qualification.
With more teams involved, more than 80 matches will be played. And having games played around the SEA region would spare spectators the need to stay up till ungodly hours to catch matches.
This means that if Singapore co-hosts the World Cup 2034 as part of a consortium of SEA countries, Singapore will get the chance to play in it via automatic qualification.
So, instead of dreaming big and being guided by the size of our ambitions by playing better football, or at least aiming to be the best in the region, Singapore can still be going to the World Cup in time to come because our stadium is very nice.
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Top photo via FAS