Hints of USA and China as World Cup front-runners

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has placed the United States in pole position to host the 2018 World Cup and hinted that China could enter the race to secure the tournament. In comments that cast doubt on England and Australia’s chances, Blatter said he wanted to extend the current system under which the World Cup is rotated between Africa, Asia, Europe, North, Central America and the Caribbean, and South America beyond 2014. That would make the United States, which has already declared its interest in hosting the 2018 tournament, the best-placed country with the Asian Football Confederation, which now includes Australia, next in line.

Although Australia is the only declared candidate from Asia, Blatter revealed that Chinese football officials had been sounding out the FIFA hierarchy about the possibility of following up the 2008 Beijing Olympics by hosting a World Cup. “In the discussions we have had in Zurich about the Olympic football tournament, the general secretary of the Chinese federation has been speaking about the possibility of organising the World Cup,” Blatter revealed at a media briefing in London. “I’m not a prophet, I cannot see where the World Cup is going but you have many times in history when a country had an Olympics and then the World Cup.”