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European WC Bids Suit Australia Fine
Sydney Morning Herald, January 21st, 2009 1:30PM

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Spain and Portugal's announcement that it will launch a joint bid for the 2018 World Cup could be a blessing in disguise for Australia's hosting aspirations, according to Football Federation Australia Chief Executive Ben Buckley.

Australia expects England to be its biggest competitor in the bid to secure hosting rights, but now that there are four European bids for the 2018 competition, the support of UEFA countries for any bid competing with Australia's could be split. "It's not surprising that there's so much interest from Europe," said Buckley, alluding to the fact that, with World Cup 2010 in South Africa, and 2014 in Brazil, Europe believes it will be awarded the 2018 competition, even though FIFA has abolished its continental rotation system.

"I think with Spain and Portugal coming into the mix [with] England, Holland and Belgium, and Russia... it certainly makes it a very competitive field. But it also opens up opportunities for Australia in that it's not necessarily a single bidder from one confederation." Although Australia could also face competition within its own confederation if Qatar announces a bid before the Feb. 2 deadline.

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