China in the frame to host the 2022 World Cup?
Paul Gordon, avid China watcher and self appointed pundit of the beautiful game, comments on the rumours now circulating that China might be able to pull off the biggest sporting coup after the Olympics… Hosting the World Cup!
As most of the world watches the games(including the insomniac friends of Jon Geldart currently in Beijing) from Brazil, speculation arises that China might actually host it in 2022.
For years, the game has enjoyed cult status across the country. Matches from the EPL, The Bundesliga and La Liga are widely watched and domestically, some of the most successful businessmen in China have invested in the major Chinese clubs.
Currently the Chinese government is trying to clamp down on the huge amount of illegal online betting going on around the World Cup too!
The Chinese Premier is a known fan of the beautiful game and no doubt, if China were to host the World Cup, it would be a magnificent spectacle. The Beijing Olympics certainly was.
Of course, The 2022 event has already been awarded to Qatar but the fear is that the extreme summer heat might both ruin the enjoyment and actually be dangerous.
Having attended a match in July in Shanghai I can vouch for the passion of the crowd but also the humidity during an 8pm match. It gets hot in China too.
Not sure it’s going to happen in 2033, but a Chinese World Cup would be quite something. It would energise the game at grass routes to ensure the national team was at least competitive (unlike the country that created the game) and from a business perspective, it would stimulate the growth of domestic sport and leisure brands and change the focus of international ones.
The Olympics was big but this would be huge for tourism, brands and the domestic economy in general.