Friday, April 21, 2006
Belgium and Holland considering World Cup bid
The Belgian and Dutch football associations have agreed to investigate the feasibility of jointly hosting the World Cup in 2018.
Representatives of the two associations agreed on Tuesday that the study should be completed by the end of this year.
"We met with the Dutch FA late last night in Eindhoven to discuss the possibility and the initial indications were positive," a Belgian FA spokesperson said on Wednesday.
"We will carry out a study before the end of the year and speak with our governments about getting their backing. Our president Jan Peeters believes it is possible."
The starting point for the proposal is the 2000 European Championship
finals which were co-hosted by the two lowland countries.
"We played then in 10 stadiums, divided equally between the two countries. This is the idea once again," Henk Kesler of the Dutch Football association (KNVB) said.
The results of the assessment will depend largely on the attitude taken by the governments in Brussels and The Hague.
"Naturally, we can't do this on our own," Kesler said. "Such an event can only be a success if we all put in the work. Then it will succeed."
Kesler said everyone was sceptical when the Dutch and Belgians proposed taking on the organisation of the European Cup in 2000. "Yet, that tournament was an enormous success. Why wouldn't it work now?"
The Netherlands hosted the World Cup for the under 20s last year and next year the European finals for players under 21 is also being organised by the KNVB.