Football Federation Australia (FFA) has confirmed it will no longer compete to host the 2018 World Cup, handing a significant boost to England’s chances of securing the tournament.
Pictured: FFA chairman Frank Lowy
The United States is now the only non-European nation still in the running.
Joint bids from Spain & Portugal and Holland & Belgium, as well as an offering from Russia, also remain on the table.
After several months of dialogue with FIFA, FFA chairman Frank Lowy today confirmed Australia will now focus its energy on winning the race to host the 2022 World Cup.
Both winners will be announced later this year.
Australia’s decision has been welcome by FIFA, whose chief executive Jerome Valcke said: “The FFA and my office as well as the FIFA President have been in constant dialogue about Australia’s bidding intentions since last autumn.
“The FFA have displayed an exemplary level of solidarity with Europe and the European Bidding Nations and were among the very first to enter into an open and constructive dialogue with me after it became apparent that there was a growing movement to stage the 2018 World Cup in Europe.
Australia will also face competition from Japan, Qatar and South Korea for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Mr Lowy said: “We have been in discussion with FIFA for months and it is that trusting relationship with the leadership of the governing body that has caused us to focus on 2022 and decide to leave the field for 2018 to European contenders.
“The FFA’s decision was in planning since October 2009 and its leadership, after careful consideration and analysis, has now decided to focus its bidding on 2022.”