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Posted: Wednesday February 25, 2009 9:41AM; Updated: Wednesday February 25, 2009 9:41AM

Australia claims 'worldwide support' for Cup bids

By Chris Paraskevas, Special to SI.com, Goal.com

Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive Ben Buckley has declared that there is worldwide support for Australia's bid to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

Following the announcement of Australia's bid team for soccer's showpiece event, he remained tight-lipped on FIFA's stance.

"We're not going to announce to the world the sort of feedback we've had from FIFA," Buckley said. "But what I'm going to say is that in our travels within Asia and the football world more broadly, we believe there's a lot of support for Australia to host the World Cup. We are as confident today as we were when we launched this initiative."

Buckley also reaffirmed the continuing role of chairman Frank Lowy in heading the bid, the richest man in Australia set to continue his "intimate" involvement.

He continued, "I can assure everyone that our chairman will be intimately involved in the World Cup bid. He has already been very active in the process to date and will continue to be. He is passionate about bringing the World Cup to Australia's shores and I can assure you that apart from making the World Cup in 2010 and continuing to expand the A-League, this is of absolute priority and he'll be dedicating himself to that task."

The CEO also sees no disadvantage in Australia also bidding for the right to host the 2015 Asia Cup while trying to maintain a World Cup bid.

"We think it will help in getting investment made in the areas we need such as stadia investment and infrastructure," Buckley said. "It would certainly be an ideal test for Australia's readiness to host a World Cup."

 
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