China will bid for World Cup: FIFA official
China will host the World Cup at some point in the future, as this eventuality has already been included in the country's national plan for soccer reform, said a senior FIFA official at the 2017 World Soccer Forum on May 18.
"There's no doubt that China will bid to host the World Cup, though it's not clear when we will do it. Hosting such an event is a national project; we will research it carefully," Zhang Jian, a newly elected FIFA council member, told Xinhua.
Zhang's remarks come after the Chinese Football Association (CFA) dismissed rumors that China may bid to host the 2034 World Cup in May. The CFA said on its Sina Weibo that the rumor is false, though it did not deny the country's intention to bid for the World Cup hosting gig at some point in the future.
Zhang also noted that the recent structural reform of the FIFA council, which makes him a member of the organization, contributes to a good outlook for Chinese soccer.
"Internationally, the expansion of the Chinese soccer market means more benefits and opportunities for everyone in the industry," Zhang explained.
Hosting the World Cup is a crucial part of China's plan to become a "soccer superpower" in the next few decades. In addition to the government’s endless efforts in this pursuit, many Chinese enterprises have also invested in Chinese soccer, helping to strengthen China's influence in FIFA. Powerful conglomerate Wanda, for instance, became an official partner of FIFA in 2016, which is the highest level of sponsorship.