Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said this week that the government would prefer to invest in sports development than organise football’s show-piece tournament.
“We would need a large amount of money to host the World Cup. We would need several new stadiums and a better transportation system as well as other facilities,” she said.
To host the World Cup, a country must have at least one 80,000-seat stadium for the opening match and the final.
It also needs 60,000-capacity stadiums for the two semi-final matches and several 40,000-seat stadiums for other games.
Football Association of Thailand president Somyot Poompunmuang confirmed recently that he was interested in a joint bid to host the 2034 World Cup with Indonesia.
The idea received the backing of the Asean Football Federation.
“We have to thoroughly study what Thailand would get from hosting the World Cup. We have to consider if it would be worth the huge investment,” Kobkarn said.
“We would also need plans for the use of the new stadiums after the World Cup. We have to think if this would affect the country’s economy.”
She said the government had a policy to support sports development.
“We want the Thai people to watch and play sports. We want to see Thailand become a leading nation in sports,” Kobkarn said.
“One thing that is more important than hosting the World Cup is pushing the national teams at all levels to reach the World Cup finals. This would be worthier than using billions of baht to bid for the World Cup.”
She said if Thailand do bid to organise the 2034 World Cup, it could face candidates who are better placed. “The likes of Australia, South Korea, Japan and Middle East countries have higher potential and are richer than Thailand,” Kobkarn said.
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