|China sets sights on 2026 World Cup
China's top football official has said his nation should bid for the 2026 World Cup, should an Asian nation fail to win the right to host the extravaganza in 2022, state press said.
"I have always felt that it would only be a matter of time for China, as a major nation in the world, to host the World Cup,'' the head of the Chinese Football Association, Wei Di, told Xinhua news agency.
"Personally I am all for bidding; if needed, I will call upon public opinion (to support a bid) because to bid for the World Cup is in the interests of Chinese football.''
The global football governing body Fifa will decide later Thursday in Zurich which nations will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
England, Russia, Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium are in the running for the 2018 event.
The favorites to host the 2022 tournament are the United States, Australia and Qatar, with Japan and South Korea seen as rank outsiders.
If one of the Asian bids is successful, it is highly unlikely that another Asian nation would be chosen to host the 2026 event.
Chinese football has been beset with gambling, match-fixing, crooked referees and poor performances in recent years that had made the game the laughing stock of fans and a matter of mounting state concern.
Wei's two predecessors at the CFA and a bevy of other top association officials are currently under arrest and facing trial on charges of bribe-taking and match fixing.