Massive undertaking feasible if Australia signs up, says Snedden.

Exclusive: Rugby World Cup boss turns focus to football.

The man credited with making the Rugby World Cup a success four years ago has embarked on a project to top them all - to bring the Fifa World Cup to New Zealand.

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Snedden's aim to bring Fifa World Cup to NZ

Martin Snedden, head of the 2011 Cup organising committee, believes the goal is attainable and says the country's success in hosting two major sports events in the past four years demonstrates it has the capability and infrastructure to support such a massive undertaking, though realistically it would be done with Australia.

Martin Snedden. Photo / Ted Baghurst
Martin Snedden. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Mr Snedden, also the former head of the Tourism Industry Association, said he could see a scenario where New Zealand hosted two or three of the eight pools and some knockout matches, with the rest being hosted across the Tasman. Mr Snedden said the first task was to engage the major stakeholders here - the government, local authorities and New Zealand Football - and move the conversation beyond the default position of "we're too small and the event's too big".

"I've had informal discussions with [Foreign Affairs and Associate Sport and Recreation Minister] Murray McCully and [Sport and Recreation Minister] Jonathan Coleman to seed the idea with them," said Mr Snedden.

He had also had talks with Andy Martin, CEO of NZ Football, and the head of Sport NZ, Peter Miskimmin.

Mr Snedden said the reception had been positive, though there was recognition there would be plenty of hurdles to leap. "Those discussions have mainly been to say, 'Don't dismiss the idea. Think about ways to advance it.' There's a pretty clear route as to how to advance it."

Argentina's Lionel Messi. Photo / AP
Argentina's Lionel Messi. Photo / AP

Mr Snedden has identified three phases to the process: get the NZ stakeholders on board with the idea, convince the Australians they could work with NZ on a strong bid, and start lobbying the Asia and Oceania confederations and Fifa.

He said the first two phases would take some time but not a lot of money and would give a clear signal as to whether phase three was feasible.

"From where I'm sitting now, I want to see us give something a real crack that we didn't think we could do. If you're looking to host an event that is a sure bet, this isn't one of them."

New Zealand is already hosting another of football's great events, the Fifa Under-20 World Cup, from May 30 to June 20.


Prime Minister John Key said making a bid to host the World Cup would be "a hell of a lot of work".

"It's an idea, the Government hasn't done any work on it," he said on Paul Henry this morning, adding: "Man, it would be expensive."

"The Fifa World Cup is essentially the number one event, after the Olympics.

"It's massively expensive. If you look at what it's costing Qatar to hold the 2022 World Cup, I think it's $60 billion."

Any decision on such a bid would be "a long way away", Mr Key said.

Qatar will be the first Middle Eastern nation to host the World Cup in 2022. Instead of being held in the traditional period of June and July, the tournament will be held starting from late November to avoid the intense summer heat.

It will follow the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The bidding process for the 2026 World Cup will start later this year. The US, Canada, Mexico and Colombia have all confirmed they will bid to be the host nation.