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Australians join race to stage World Cup

  • Story Highlights
  • Australia throw their hat into the ring in bid to stage 2018 or 2022 World Cup
  • Australia would be hosting the global football showpiece for the first time
  • England are favorites for the 2018 finals having last staged tournament in 1966
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(CNN) -- Australia have joined the increasingly crowded race to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

Australia officially submitted their bid before Monday's deadline set by world governing body FIFA with candidates able to stake a claim for either or both tournaments.

If successful, it would be the first time Australia hosted football's global showpiece and it appears 2022 represents the best chance of success.

With South Africa in 2010 and Brazil (2014) hosting the next two World Cups, the indications are that the northern hemisphere will be awarded the 2018 finals.

"Australia is part of the fastest growing region in world football and I think that is very important to FIFA. It's very important to us and it's very important to the Asian Football Federation," FFA spokesperson Bonita Mersiades told Sky Sports News.

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"Whether that is an advantage or a disadvantage, it is too soon to say one way or the other. But I think the great thing about opening it up to any country and going beyond the rotation system is that it gives a number of countries the opportunity to put their hands up," she added.

Australia will face stiff competition from 2018 frontrunners England, Belgium and the Netherlands, China, Japan, Mexico, Indonesia, Portugal and Spain, Qatar, the United States and Russia.

Under FIFA's rotation system, African countries cannot bid for the 2018 tournament because the next World Cup, in 2010, will be staged in South Africa. Latin American countries are also ruled out of hosting 2018 and 2022 because Brazil are holding the 2014 version.

A decision on the successful bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup will be made in December next year. FIFA are also due to announce next month whether they will accept joint bids.

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