Peace is the word for Asian World Cup bids

SINGAPORE - Qatar and South Korea's bids to host the 2022 World Cup are good campaigns based on bringing peace to their regions, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Mohamed Bin Hammam has said.

Bin Hammam was speaking in Seoul where he met with FIFA Vice President and AFC Executive Committee member Chung Mong-joon and Korean Football Association (KFA) President Cho Chung-yung to discuss the bids from the two nations.

"I understand the reason behind the (Korean) bid, it is a noble reason. The concept is one of bringing peace to the Korean peninsula through football," Bin Hammam told reporters on Wednesday.

South Korea finished fourth when they jointly hosted the 2002 tournament with Japan, the only time Asia has hosted a World Cup.

"For Dr Chung and myself, the first priority is to bring the World Cup to Asia. Who gets it is secondary," Qatari Bin Hammam said.

"There are so many advantages if Qatar gets to host the World Cup. All the group matches can be played in venues which are within reasonable distance of each other. So one can watch more than one group match the same day," Bin Hammam said.

"The Middle East also has the legitimate right to seek peace through football and an event like the World Cup can replace the sorry story of wars."

Australia, England, Japan, Netherlands and Belgium, Russia, Spain and Portugal, and United States are bidding to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cups with Qatar and South Korea currently in the running to host only the latter tournament.

Indonesia are also in contention for the 2022 event but a government official told Reuters last week that the priority for the country should be on improving the standard of the lowly ranked team rather than hosting the World Cup.

FIFA will announce the hosts of both tournaments in December.