Chung: North attack makes South Korea bid key

SEOUL - North Korea's recent shelling of a South Korean island has made hosting the 2022 World Cup in the South even more important, FIFA vice president Chung Mong-joon said.

A week after a hail of North Korean shells slammed into the tiny island of Yeonpyeong, killing four people and destroying dozens of houses, Chung said hosting the football showpiece could help bring a lasting peace to the Korean peninsula and beyond.

The five countries bidding to host the 2022 event - South Korea, Australia, Qatar, Japan and the United States - will deliver their final presentations to FIFA's executive committee, who will vote for the winners on Thursday.

The committee will also choose the hosts for the 2018 World Cup on Thursday.

"There is consensus now about the importance of peace on the Korean peninsula... because of the recent artillery shelling on Yeonpyeong island," Chung said in Zurich on Tuesday, where the vote is taking place.

"We're making the case that Korea needs to host the 2022 World Cup for peace beyond the Korean peninsula and in northeast Asia."

South Korea co-hosted the World Cup with Japan in 2002 and rode a fanatical wave of support to reach the semi-finals. Critics of the bid suggest it is too soon for the Koreans to host another.

"Some say Korea and Japan hosted the World Cup eight years ago so it is too soon to do it again, but remember 2022 is 12 years ahead. We're trying to stress the fact that it would be 20 years after 2002," added Chung.

"Korea has stressed the reasons for wanting to host the World Cup was for maintaining peace on the Korean peninsula and northeast Asia, not for commercial gain.

"We're trying to make the case that the 2022 World Cup will be the greatest soccer festival in Northeast Asia."