China national team boss Marcello Lippi reveals the country plans to host the 2030 Fifa World Cup; Chinese FA denies
The Italian made the comments during an interview where he discussed his disappointment at missing out on the 2018 edition
China’s national team manager Marcello Lippi moved the Chinese Football Association (CFA) to publish an official denial on Thursday after the Italian revealed in an interview that the countryis set to bid for the 2030 World Cup, according to media reports.
The World Cup-winning manager, speaking to the Chengdu Business Daily following two friendly defeats in the last week, reflected on his disappointment at missing out on a spot at the 2018 World Cup in Russia before revealing that plans were already in place for the country to launch a bid to bring the quadrennial tournament to China for the first time in 2030.
In unguarded comments, the 69-year-old pointed out the progress he has made with the national team since his arrival last year before stating: “I also want to tell you that the Chinese Football Association is to bid for the 2030 World Cup.”
The news came as a surprise as Chinese officials have so far resisted calls to comment on whether they will look to host the 2030 edition of the tournament, as many analysts have predicted.
With the 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar, it was initially believed that China would have to wait at least two editions as Fifa prefers hosting the tournament to cycle through continents before returning to the same one twice in an eight-year period.
But Lippi, who has been tasked with carrying out a root and branch overhaul of the national team set-up, would be likely to have intimate knowledge of the CFA’s strategy.
Earlier this year, Chinese real estate giant Wanda Group revealed that they had secured a sponsorship deal with Fifa up to the 2030 edition of the tournament in a move many believed was indicative of their plans to host that year’s tournament.
Meanwhile, the CFA moved quickly to quash talk of an imminent bid for the 2030 tournament.
“We reiterate that the FA did not say which World Cup it will bid for,” a CFA statement said in response to the stories surrounding Lippi’s comments.
“This kind of information is not officially confirmed and is the media’s interpretations.”
China’s president Xi Jinping made it known as far back as 2015 that he has three wishes for Chinese football: to qualify for the World Cup, to host the event and, one day, to win it.
The United States, as well as Canada and Mexico, are front-runners to host the 2026 World Cup, but a final decision is unlikely to be made until at least 2019.