Australia: Proximity to Asia World Cup plus point

SYDNEY - A World Cup held in Australia would generate more money and attract more worldwide television viewers than a tournament in Europe or the United States, Australian football boss Frank Lowy said on Wednesday.

Lowy, who is leading Australia's bid to stage the tournament in either 2018 or 2022, is challenging the notion that nations outside of Europe and North America cannot match the financial clout of countries in the sport's traditional markets.

He argues that Australia's close proximity to Asia makes it an even better bet than other nations bidding for the tournament.

"We are able to show that bringing the game to Australia and having the Asian continent with us at the same timezone will benefit not only Australia, not only Asia, but the whole football world," Lowy told a luncheon in Melbourne.

"Because the income that's been projected for the television rights and other income will be larger than if they go anywhere else... nobody can offer what we can offer.

"We are the backyard or frontyard for Asia, we know how to stage big events and the audience that is going to watch us, I think it's two thirds of the world audience, that of course can be translated into dollars and cents."


Lowy also argued that a World Cup in Australia would bring millions of new Asian fans to the game because the economic and sporting market is developing faster than in Europe and the U.S.

Australia's national team used to play in the Oceania zone but switched confederations to Asia after qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. The Socceroos were one of the first teams to qualify for next year's World Cup in South Africa.

"Asian development in sport is such that if the World Cup comes to this part of the world then I think they will be able to cash in and sort of monopolise with football, because the other sports haven't taken off yet," he said.

"If you look at America, it's a great country, a great sporting nation, but football can get nowhere, everything is occupied already, television rights, and it's the same story in many other parts of the world."

Australia have never hosted the World Cup but are vying with the U.S., England, Spain, Russia, a joint Netherlands/Belgium bid, Qatar, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea for the right to host either the 2018 or 2022 tournament.

The hosts for both tournaments will be chosen in December 2010.