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Australian PM canvasses FIFA support for WCup bid

28 November 2009 07:35

SYDNEY (AFP) - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd met with FIFA vice-president Jack Warner on the sidelines of the Commonwealth leaders meeting in Port of Spain to press Australia's bid to host the 2018 World Cup, Football Federation Australia said on Saturday.

The FFA said Rudd and influential FIFA official Warner discussed Australia's bid, with the Prime Minister outlining the strength of the bid and the Australian Government's support for it.

"The Prime Minister also referred to the growth of the game in the Asian region and how an Australian-hosted FIFA World Cup would help promote and consolidate the game in Asia," FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said in a statement.

Two weeks ago, Warner said in Nigeria that Australia "truly deserves" to host the FIFA World Cup, FFA said.

"Australia created the best-ever Olympics (in 2000) and demonstrated an ability to host and manage some of the biggest sporting events in the world with class, expertise and with a dedication to excellence," Warner reportedly said.

Buckley said Rudd and Warner agreed to keep in contact throughout the bid process.

"The Prime Minister took time out of his busy schedule at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago to meet with Jack Warner," he said.

"This follows on from the Prime Minister's visit to Zurich in July in which he met with the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, in support of Australia's bid for the 2018-2022 FIFA World Cup.

Buckley said the Prime Minister's commitment in meeting with leading FIFA Executive members was a boost for Australia's bid.

"The feedback we've received suggests that FIFA Executive members greatly appreciate the Prime Minister's time and effort in meeting with them, and in assuring them of his strong personal commitment for the bid," he said.

Australia is one of nine bidders for 2018, and one of 11 in the race for 2022, with the decision on both made in December 2010.

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