One of the game’s all-time greats believes the nation is equipped and ready to host the world’s biggest international football tournament
Brazil legend Pele says “now is the time” for Australia to host the Fifa World Cup.
The Socceroos only secured one of a possible 22 votes as Qatar controversially won the right to host the 2022 tournament to become the first Gulf state to stage the showpiece event.
The fallout from the controversial bidding process has been widespread, with concerns raised over a lack of transparency in voting and heavy criticism directed at Qatar over its treatment of migrant construction workers.
There are also concerns surrounding player welfare due to the excessive heat in Qatar, which has prompted a recommendation from Fifa to play the World Cup in November with the final on December 23.
The governing body’s proposal to shift the tournament from the northern hemisphere’s summer has sparked uproar and with that in mind, Pele – arguably the greatest ever player – feels Australia is ready to stage a World Cup.
“No doubt [Australia can host a World Cup]. I remember when I was in Australia a long time ago people already mentioned about Australia hosting the World Cup,” Pele told Perform.
“Now is the time, no doubt. The way to prepare for that is to have good players, (a) good team and have some players play outside of Australia.
“I think no doubt Australia could host the World Cup.”
Pele’s comments come after Fifa president Sepp Blatter recently wrote a column in the governing body’s weekly magazine stating that Australia “deserved” to host the showpiece tournament at some stage.
“Australia is the only continent never to have hosted the World Cup finals, although the 1981 and 1993 Under-20 World Cups took place there,” Blatter wrote.
“That is basically an unfortunate omission in sporting history because very few countries boast such a rich sporting culture and long list of champions.
“So we can say with confidence that it would be more than deserved if Australia were to stage the World Cup at some point.”