KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 (Bernama) -- Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has lauded the decision made by ASEAN member countries to launch a joint bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2034.
In a statement issued by the Comptroller of the Royal Household for Istana Negara, Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said Sultan Abdullah strongly supports the move and looks forward to hearing more details of the bid, and wishes ASEAN the very best in its efforts.
The King is also former Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) vice-president and FIFA executive committee member.
“I have been involved in football for most of my life and it has always been a dream to see the World Cup being held on our shores. When I was a member of the FIFA executive committee, I mooted the idea of undertaking a joint bid with our ASEAN member countries.
“I felt that it would be a great opportunity to elevate our football to World Cup standards, given the motivation of being part of a World Cup.
“Of course, the economic returns alone will be tremendous and not just for us but also for our neighbours as well. Hosting such an event will definitely contribute towards job creation, massive infrastructure development and increase in tourist arrivals.
“I am also excited at the prospect of which will spur grassroots development and young footballers towards achieving a dream of playing in the World Cup,” Sultan Abdullah was quoted as saying in the statement.
Last year, the King had said Malaysia could be part of a joint bid with other ASEAN countries to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup.
His Majesty reportedly said that it was high time for the ASEAN region to be given the opportunity to co-host the event as it would allow the countries to improve their infrastructures and strengthen their respective national teams.
ASEAN Chairman, Gen Prayuth Chan o-cha told a press conference after opening the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday, that all 10-ASEAN member countries have agreed to launch a joint bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup.
According to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, five ASEAN countries namely Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia had mooted the idea for the joint bid during the summit.