New Zealand keen to host men's World Cup with Australia
AUCKLAND – New Zealand Football is “rapt” with how the Women’s World Cup has gone and hopes to partner with Australia again to host the men’s tournament, chief executive Andrew Pragnell said.
The first 32-team Women’s World Cup – and the first hosted by more than one country – has been the most well-attended in the tournament’s history and generated record crowds for women’s football matches in Australia and New Zealand.
“We are both obviously rapt with how the tournament has gone,” Pragnell told New Zealand news website Stuff.
“Fifa are over the moon and couldn’t be happier also. We’ve shown what we always knew – that we would host the best ever Women’s World Cup.
“It’s only natural that at some time in the future we would host a men’s World Cup.
“It’s likely to be some sort of Asia-Pacific partnership, and I would see Australia and NZ as a foundation of that, for sure.”
Football Australia boss James Johnson has repeatedly said Australia would like to host the men’s World Cup but will need stadiums that meet Fifa requirements.
The global governing body requires hosts to have minimum seating of 40,000 for group stage matches, 60,000 for semi-finals and 80,000 for the final.
Auckland’s 50,000-seat Eden Park is New Zealand’s only stadium that meets the threshold for group matches.
Pragnell said New Zealand would want to liaise with Fifa on the stadiums issue.
“I don’t think anyone wants to see a scenario where infrastructure is built that wouldn’t be used again,” he said.
“From our experiences with Fifa in this World Cup, they are willing to work with you and be flexible.”
The next men’s World Cup in 2026 will be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico. - REUTERS