North Korea may bid to co-host World Cup
FOOTBALL: Crackpot North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is believed to making a play for his country to co-host the 2030 World Cup by joining forces with South Korea, China and Japan.
South Korean football chief Chung Mong-gyu has said he believes in the co-hosting plan, despite tensions with the secretive Communist nation, the Korea Herald reports.
"If South Korea, North Korea, China and Japan have a discussion, I think we have a good possibility of co-hosting the 2030 FIFA World Cup," Chung told reporters.
Chung has just won a seat on the FIFA council, becoming the first South Korean since 2001 to get on the board which makes all the key decisions.
And he added crucially FIFA president Gianni Infantino is keen on the four nations hosting the major event - but that North Korea will join the bid once the other three agree.
"If South Korea, China, and Japan decide to stage the World Cup, it can be really appealing to others in terms of financial conditions," Chung said. "We have a very attractive football market."
Kim Jong-un has allegedly become a devoted supporter of Serie A thanks to the impact 18-year-old North Korean Han Kwang-song has made at Cagliari.
The country's capital, Pyongyang, has a 114,000-seat stadium that hosts football matches but the national team - currently ranked 116th in the world - has struggled to make its mark on the international arena.
North Korea has appeared in two World Cups, the 1966 and 2010 editions. It finished bottom of its group and lost all three matches in South Africa seven years ago, going down 2-1 to Brazil, 7-0 to Portugal and 3-0 to Ivory Coast.
It also finished winless and bottom of its group at the 2015 Asian Cup held in Australia, losing to Uzbekistan 1-0 in Sydney, falling to Saudi Arabia 4-1 in Melbourne and going down 2-1 to China in Canberra.
North Korea will not take part in next year's World Cup in Russia, having already been eliminated in the Asian qualifying process.
But aside from World Cup bids, North Korea is perhaps more preoccupied at the moment with its missiles tests and threatening the world with nuclear war.