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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 17, 2009

Japan plan to bid to host another World Cup

The Japan Football Association plan to bid for the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The JFA revealed their intentions at an executive committee meeting on Friday in Kanazawa, although the bids depend on the success of Tokyo's attempt to stage the 2016 Olympic Games.

Japan co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with neighbours South Korea but do not currently have an 80,000-seater stadium, which is required to host the opening ceremony and final, although Tokyo's Olympics bid contains plans for a 120,000-seater arena.

Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid are also in the running to stage the 2016 Olympics, with the International Olympic Committee set to announce the winner in October.

World football's governing body FIFA have set a deadline of February 2 for bids to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, with a decision to be made in December 2010.

"We will definitely need the success of the 2016 Tokyo Olympics hosting bids," said JFA president Motoaki Inukai. "If they don't win it, it will be physically impossible for us to host the World Cup.

"We have to co-operate with them in various parts. We will offer our full support to help them host the Olympics."

Sepp Blatter expects tough competition for the right to host finals.

"We already have 10 potential bidders," Blatter told a news conference during the opening of the CIS Cup, an annual tournament involving the club champions from the 15 former Soviet republics.

"If we go from west to east we have Mexico, United States, Spain alone or together with Portugal, England, a joint bid from the Netherlands and Belgium, I do hope Russia (will bid), Japan, Qatar, China and Australia."

Turning to Russian soccer chief Vital Mutko, Blatter said: "I definitely expect Russia to be a candidate to host the World Cup either in 2018 or 2022."

Alexei Sorokin, general director of the Russian FA, said officials had yet to make up their mind about submitting a formal bid.

"We haven't sent an official letter to FIFA yet as we're still waiting for the government to formally endorse our bid," Sorokin told Reuters.

This week world soccer's ruling body set a Feb. 2 deadline for potential bidders to formally express their interest.

For the first time FIFA will have a simultaneous bidding process for the two events, which will be awarded to the successful candidates in December 2010.

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