6 June 2024

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said he has advised FIFA president Gianni Infantino, during their recent meeting, that Thailand and other ASEAN members will be ready to co-host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, if chosen.

“I raised the issue with the FIFA president and, from now on, ASEAN has to work together to develop our level of football, as well as our readiness to host the event,” Srettha said in his tweet.

The meeting between Srettha and Infantino, president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) took place yesterday (Wednesday) on the sidelines of the UNGA meeting in New York.

The ten ASEAN member states have recently established a joint task force, aimed at securing the hosting rights for the 2034 football World Cup.

During the meeting, Infantino invited Srettha to attend the 74th FIFA Congress, to be hosted in Bangkok in May next year. About 2,000 representatives from 211 countries are scheduled to attend.

Srettha said after the meeting that the FIFA Congress in Thailand is a huge gathering. “Considering the number of participants, it is bigger than this UN conference. The attendance of the international participants will surely stimulate Thailand’s economy,” he said.

Football is hugely popular in most parts of the world and is of massive commercial value.

Srettha said FIFA has prioritised grass root support, by allocating more financial support for development, from US$250,000 to US$2 million per year, despite the FIFA’s income not increasing that much.

He thanked FIFA for adding four extra places for Asian teams at the 2026 World Cup, which will take place in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Srettha claimed that this has raised ASEAN hopes, not only for our teams to play in the World Cup, but it will also inspire more of our children to play football, instead of falling into drug abuse or other bad things. I cannot not deny that football has gained much attention from me, said Srettha, who loves to play football and is a big fan of Liverpool in the England Premier League.