The Philippines may wind up being one of the hosts of the FIFA World Cup in 2034.
This possibility was raised after member countries of the Southeast Asian Games Federation pushed for the staging of more Olympic-recognized sports events in future stagings of the SEA Games and in other sporting meets.
In a joint statement signed by sports leaders from 10 member countries, the SEAGF unanimously supports the proposed hosting of the 2034 FIFA World Cup, with Thailand leading the initiative.
Sports leaders expressed their support during Thursday’s virtual conference of the Sixth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Sports.
The meeting was chaired by Singapore’s Edwin Tong, the minister of Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, along with vice chair Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand’ s minister of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports
Back in June of 2019, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayuth Chan-o-cha, announced that all 10 nations of ASEAN will take part in a joint-bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup.
This made ASEAN as the first to submit a 10-country joint bid in FIFA World Cup history.
The proposal has gained unanimous approval from all members, after five ASEAN countries officially proposed to jointly host it.
“We reaffirm our support for the commitment of Thailand to lead the preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2034 joint bid by ASEAN. We adopt the Terms of Reference of the Technical Working Group for ASEAN’s Joint Bid for the World Cup 2034 and look forward to the convening of its first meeting,” said the statement, which was also signed by Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez.
With the new agreement forged, the biennial SEA Games is also now expected to feature less non-Olympic sports, like bowling, squash and wushu, along with traditional sports such as arnis, chinlone, vovinam and shuttlecock kicking.
This could mean more events from two mandatory sports disciplines, athletics and aquatics, and those that are in the current Olympic program
The proposed 2024 Summer Olympic program in Paris is initially featuring 32 sports with 329 events.
In the past, SEA Games organizers have been criticized for maximizing their medal hauls by excluding sports that are disadvantageous to their countries.
It was alleged that introducing “obscure” sports events were done to pad up the host’s medal tally.
The Federation said that it “has been, and will continue, to review our SEAG sports program from time to time in view of, and to keep up with, the ever-changing world sports landscape, and to keep a balance of sports competed at each SEAG.”