Japan has expressed concern that China
could steamroll future World Cup bids after losing out to
Qatar in the race to host the 2022 finals.
Senior Japanese officials said they would bounce back
after tasting defeat in Thursday's FIFA vote but acknowledged
potential Chinese bids could complicate matters.
"There is no doubt China would be a very tough rival for
future bids," Japan Football Association (JFA) vice president
Kuniya Daini told Reuters on Friday.
China's football chief Wei Di was quoted by the country's
state-run Xinhua news agency on Thursday as saying it was
"only a matter of time" before the Chinese launched a World
Japan spent an estimated $100 million on its 2022 bid -
nine times less than for 2002 - but China's economic strength
would give it a clear edge over its Asian rivals.
Under FIFA rules, Asia's next opportunity to bid for the
World Cup would be 2030 at the earliest, at which point
China's interest could undermine Japanese ambitions.
"We knew it would be tough," Daini said of the 2022
process. "But we have set a target to stage the World Cup
alone by 2050 so we will be back."
Japan successfully co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with South
Korea, who reached the semi-finals of that tournament and were
also bidding for the rights to stage 2022.
Daini cast doubt on FIFA's decision to select Qatar as
hosts for the 2022 World Cup.
"I'm surprised at the outcome," he said. "I'm not sure
what was good about their bid but obviously they had some
extra factor that we didn't.
"Qatar is a difficult environment to stage the world's top
tournament but it is a chance for Asia to take the game to
"There was nothing wrong with Japan's bid. We scored
highly in the FIFA evaluation reports and it was not because
we did anything wrong that we lost out."
Daini added: "We have successfully staged the 2002 finals
and put together a great bid this time so I'm confident we can
bring the World Cup back to Japan."
Daini admitted Japan and South Korea may have jumped the
gun on bidding again so soon after 2002.
"We had heard that said before and perhaps that was the
case," he said. "We did everything we could and will be able
to make a more compelling case in the future."
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