Australian PM meets Warner over bid

SYDNEY - Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has taken time out from the Commonwealth summit in Trinidad and Tobago to push his country's bid to host the World Cup.

Following the lead of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Rudd took a break from the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Port of Spain to meet CONCACAF president and FIFA executive member Jack Warner.

"We understand the Prime Minister and Mr Warner discussed the value of sport in community development, and the growing popularity of football in Australia," Football Federation of Australia (FFA) chief executive Ben Buckley said in a statement.

"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."

Rudd's meeting with Warner came just a few months after he travelled to Switzerland to discuss Australia's bid with FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

The Australian government has been heavily supportive of the FFA's bid to host the World Cup for the first time, pledging A$45 million (US$40.8 million) to the campaign.

Australia is bidding against England, Russia, Indonesia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, the United States, and joint bids from Portugal and Spain and the Netherlands and Belgium for the rights to host either the 2018 or 2022 finals.

A decision on the successful bids will be made by FIFA in December 2010.

"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," Buckley said.