Europe should host the 2030 World Cup, not the country who is the highest bidder, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has told the BBC.
The 49-year-old Slovenian, who replaced disgraced Frenchman Michel Platini at the top of European football last September, added he didn’t want to single out China with regard to the money factor.
This week, smartphone maker Vivo became the latest World Cup sponsor from China following conglomerate Wanda and electronics company Hisense. That has lent more ammunition to those who believe they will bid for the 2030 edition.
China’s President Xi Jinping is a devoted football fan and is eager to host the tournament with his ultimate desire for the country to win the trophy itself.
“I didn’t want to speak just about China, but the most important thing is that the World Cup should go to the country that has the best bid,” Ceferin told the BBC ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final in Cardiff between holders Real Madrid and Italian giants Juventus.
“Rules cannot change just because we have some big sponsors.”
However, Ceferin is adamant that Europe should host the 2030 showpiece and believes that based on FIFA’s rotational policy it is their turn.
Russia will host 2018 and Qatar — who fall under the auspices of the Asian Football Confederation — will host 2022, with 2026 yet to be allocated though likely to go to North America, who have a historic joint United States, Canada and Mexico bid in the ring.
“It’s simply time for us (Europe) to host the World Cup in 2030,” said Ceferin.
“I cannot say which country will place a bid from Europe, but we cannot just sell the World Cup to the ones who want to pay the most.”
The Slovenian added that if England or a joint British bid were to declare an interest in 2030 they would receive his full backing.
“It just has to be a decision not just of the (English) FA, probably also the government and others too,” said Ceferin.
“But they deserve to have a World Cup in the near future.
“They are capable of organising the World Cup, of that I’m sure. If they decide to go, we will strongly support them.”