World Cup 2022 would reunite Koreas: bid officials
Staging the 2022 World Cup in South Korea would act as a gateway to reunification on the divided Korean peninsula, officials said Wednesday as they launched their final presentation to FIFA voters.sports Updated: Dec 01, 2010 21:45 IST
Staging the 2022 World Cup in South Korea would act as a gateway to reunification on the divided Korean peninsula, officials said Wednesday as they launched their final presentation to FIFA voters.
In an impassioned plea to voters ahead of Thursday's crucial vote, South Korea 2022 bid officials said the football extravaganza could help bring down the world's final Cold War frontier.
Speaking just over one week after North Korea unleashed a deadly artillery bombardment on a South Korea border island, bid officials said football could be a powerful force for peace.
"A World Cup will serve as a gateway for a united Korea and a peaceful Asia," said former South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hong-Koo.
Korean officials made their presentation alongside a football bearing the signatures of North and South Korean players who formed a united Korean team at a youth World Cup in 1991.
"In this football I see the power and possibility to unite us, to the open the way for a new and better future," Lee said, describing last week's bombardment from the North as "the darkness before the dawn."
"The time is right to bring the era of peace and reconciliation, diplomacy and politics are not the only things. We need the power of sports, particularly the power of football which is a captivating power like no other," he said.
South Korea is a long-odds outside bet to triumph in the 2022 race, where its rivals include Japan, Qatar, Australia and the United States.
Both Korea and Japan co-hosted the 2002 World Cup and are seen as trailing the bids from the United States, Australia and Qatar.