New FIFA sponsor Wanda hopes signing a partnership deal with the world football governing body can give it influence over where future World Cups will be held, the Chinese firm said on Monday.
``As a partner of FIFA, Wanda will be better placed to play a role in the bidding process to host major football events such as the World Cup, closing the gap on international football and enabling Chinese football to have a say in international football,’’ the Chinese conglomerate said in an online statement.
The Chinese government has previously stated it wished to host the World Cup having held the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, with the 2022 Winter Olympics also to take place in the city.
Wanda's partnership deal - the highest level of FIFA sponsorship available - runs to 2030, the first realistic date for a Chinese World Cup after the 2022 edition in Qatar.
FIFA did not give a value on the agreement when it was announced last week but it is likely to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
In spite of heavy investment in Chinese domestic football, the national team has continued to struggle. It has reached the World Cup finals only once, in 2002, when it was eliminated in the group stage with three defeats.