Rudd rallies support for 2018 Cup bid Print
Written by AAP   
Saturday, 23 February 2008 23:00

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called on state and territory governments to support Australia's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Mr Rudd said the federal government would support Football Federation of Australia's (FFA) bid to bring the tournament Down Under, while acknowledging that winning the hosting rights would be a 'Herculean' task.

"For an Australian World Cup bid to be successful the FFA will need the full and united support of the commonwealth and state and territory governments," Mr Rudd said in a statement.

He promised to put the World Cup bid on the agenda for next month's Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting of federal, state and territory leaders.

"As the host country for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is likely to be announced in 2011, the government is keen to see Australia's bid kick off as soon as possible," Mr Rudd said.

"Representatives of the FFA will meet with senior Australian government officials in the next week to begin planning the bid."

"The cost of vying for the event would be shared between the federal, state and territory governments and the FFA", he said.

Mr Rudd said Australia had shown it could deliver the world's best events, pointing to the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, the 2003 Rugby World Cup and 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

"Venues such as the MCG and Telstra Dome in Melbourne, ANZ Stadium and Sydney Football Stadium in Sydney, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane and the recently announced new stadium for Perth could host matches," he said.

The prime minister said football had never been more popular in Australia, and a bid to host the 2018 World Cup was a natural progression from the Socceroos' brilliant performance at the 2006 cup and the domestic success of the A-League.

Sports Minister Kate Ellis said the government had not yet allocated a budget for the cost of bidding for the World Cup.

"I think it's a bit early to be talking about specific figures," Ms Ellis told Sky News.

"We're still unclear of the extent of infrastructure upgrades (required) and also because, obviously, there are going to be some negotiations with state governments about these bills, as well as the FFA."

Australia would need to muster all its political lobbying resources to rally international support for the bid, she said.