China to not bid for 2018 or 2022 World Cup

BEIJING - China will not submit bids to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup finals, local media reports said on Monday.

After the successful hosting of last August's Beijing Olympics and the 2007 women's World Cup finals, China was expected to officially register its interest in bidding for the tournaments before Monday's FIFA deadline.

"In China, the decision of whether to bid for an international sports event like the World Cup is decided by the government ... the possibility of bidding for the World Cup is zero," Beijing Youth Daily quoted an unnamed official at the Chinese Football Association (CFA) as saying.

No one at the CFA was immediately available for comment.

A spokesman for the CFA said last October that China was mulling a bid for the World Cup finals and FIFA President Sepp Blatter said last month that the world's most populous nation was among 10 potential bidders.

Monday's report, however, cited several CFA officials as saying they had not heard of any intention to bid and the recent reorganisation of the governing body would have made it impossible to make a decision in time.

Nan Yong, who presided over China's successful hosting of the 2007 women's World Cup, formally replaced Xie Yalong as head of the CFA in mid January.

If no expression of intent is forthcoming from the CFA before Monday's deadline expires, it makes a bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics more likely.

Officials in the state-run sports administration previously said China would not bid for both the 2018 World Cup finals and Winter Games.

The governor of the northeastern province of Heilongjiang said in December that a successful Winter University Games in Harbin this month could be the catalyst for an attempt to attract the Winter Olympics to China in 2018 or 2022.

England, Japan, Qatar, Mexico, Australia, Russia and the United States have declared themselves in the running for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals. The decision will be announced in December next year.