RUSLAN MEDELBECK / AIPS in ASTANA: Kazakhstan wants to bid to host the 2026 World Cup – even though, as a UEFA member nation, this would contravene the current hosting rules laid down by world federation FIFA.

The ambition, however, was expressed by KFF president Adilbek Zhaksybekov at the federation’s annual meeting.

He said: “Now, Kazakhstan is able to organize football world championships or European Championships and UEFA Super Cup matches.

“Kazakhstan is planning to be candidate for the FIFA World Cup 2026. So we are preparing all the documents to send FIFA. Already we have a tentative agreement with UEFA that the UEFA Super Cup match should be held in Astana in 2017.”

Zhansybekov, who is now standing down as president, added that Kazahstan also wanted to host FIFA U-21 World Cup in 2019.

The 2018 World Cup is being staged in Russia with 2022 in Qatar. FIFA regulations insist that no continent shall host the finals more than once in every three bidding cycles. Hence, unless the rules change, 2030 would be the next possible target for the Kazakhs.

When Kazakhstan gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union it was originally granted membership of the Asian confederation. Later it switched to Europe. Hence, last spring, Astana hosted UEFA’s annual congress.

** AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide. More information:

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