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China to Wait Until 2026 to Host World Cup
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China will host the Olympic Games in less than two years time. But it may have to wait 20 years to stage soccer's World Cup, according to FIFA vice president Issa Hayatou.

Hayatou said here on Wednesday that under FIFA's continental rotation policy on the host of the World Cup, Asia could next stage the World Cup in 2026 after South Korea and Japan co-hosted the quadrennial event in 2002.

He said China will have a fairly good chance of winning the right to host the 2026 World Cup if it lodges a bid.

"You have very good facilities, and your economy enjoys a high growth, so you are capable of staging the World Cup," Hayatou told a press conference.

A 10-man FIFA delegation headed by Hayatou wrapped up a two-day tour of Beijing on Wednesday to inspect the Chinese capital's preparations for the soccer tournament of the 2008 Olympic Games.

But Hayatou added that China's chance also depends on how many Asian countries intend to stage the World Cup.

Nicolas Maingot, an official at FIFA's media department, said FIFA has yet to decide on the sites, or even the continents, for the World Cups beyond 2014.

"For the moment, the only dates which are confirmed are 2010 for South Africa, and 2014 for South America," Maingot told Xinhua.

(Xinhua News Agency March 23, 2006)

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