14 Jun 2009

Australia launches bid to host football World Cup

9:16 pm on 14 June 2009

Australia has officially launched its bid to host football's World Cup in 2018 or 2022.

It could deliver a $5 billion windfall to Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Sunday at the launch.

Australia will be up against nine other bids when world body Fifa makes its decision on both the 2018 and 2022 championships in December next year.

They include four from Europe - England, Russia and joint campaigns from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Holland - as well as the US, Mexico, Japan/South Korea, Indonesia and Qatar.

At the launch, in the federal Parliament's Great Hall, Mr Rudd and opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull presented a united political front to an audience studded with football stars past and present, including current captain Lucas Neill and Joe Marston, the first Australian to play in an English FA Cup final.

"It's not often the Prime Minister and I agree on something as big as this," said Mr Turnbull.

No continent is allowed to stage two World Cups in succession, so if Australia misses out on one it could still snare the other.