Mohamed bin Hammam believes Asia should consider
a joint bid throughout the confederation [AFP] 
Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam believes Asia has a genuine chance of beating any European bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Australia and China plan to submit bids and Qatar may also join the race but they face a tough challenge from European countries including Russia, England, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

According to reports in the British media on Wednesday, the U.S.A was also considering a bid to stage the tournament.

With the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2014 edition in Brazil, Europe is looming as the early favourite to host the tournament in 2018.

But president of the Asian Football Confederation Bin Hammam said he believed Asia, which hosted the World Cup in 2002, in Japan and South Korea, for the only time, had equal claims.

"Of course Asia has a great chance," he said.

"Nothing is automatic, there's no rotation system anymore. It could go anywhere," he said.

"I think we need to bring the World Cup to Asia in 2018."

Bin Hammam said Asia's best chance of winning the event was if the whole region joined forces to support a single bid but he would still encourage multiple bidders.

"I would like as many countries as possible to submit bids," he said.

"Then they can let the Asian countries decide for themselves if they're going to be behind one bid."

The decision on who will host the 2018 World Cup will be announced in 2011 but Fifa is also considering choosing the 2022 host at the same time so they can sell the rights to both events as a package.

Source: Agencies