South Korea says 2022 World Cup bid still on track

South Korea publicity bag on display at Soccerex in Rio
Image caption South Korea is selling its 2022 World Cup as "passion that unites"

The South Korea bid team looking to host the 2022 World Cup says it does not think the exchange of artillery shells between North and South Korea will harm its bid chances.

Instead they think it could focus the eyes of the international community on a part of the world that does not receive much global attention.

The bid is dubbed "Passion that Unites" and could feature games in North Korea.

The winning hosts of both the 2018 and 2022 Cups will be named next month.

The South Korea delegation believes the goals of their bid may now gain an extra focus.

"Only last week Fifa President Sepp Blatter said our bid has the power to bring North and South Koreans closer together," says South Korean bid team member Hyo Jin Ahn.

"We are not trying to make money out of hosting the World Cup, we are trying to unite people and bring peace to the peninsula."

Decision soon

The South Korean bid team is hosting a stand at the Soccerex football business seminar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where they have been promoting their application, and, in Mr Ahn's words "showing the Brazilians and rest of the world that we are passionate about football".

Fifa executive committee members meet in Zurich on 2 December to name the hosts of the 2022 World Cup, with the South Koreans up against Japan, Qatar, the US and Australia.

"I don't think this incident will make a negative impact on our bid," says Mr Ahn, who studied at college in Reading, Berkshire.

Image caption The South Korea World Cup bid stand is proving to be a popular attraction at Soccerex in Rio

"But it does show the need for peace and anything which can help bring this about, so this [incident] may possibly have a positive outcome."

And he said that if South Korea were chosen as host for 2022 the way would then be open to start discussions with North Korea about their hosting of some games.

South Korean bid committee chairman Han Sung-Joo has previously said the World Cup would be a good way to accelerate investment in both countries, particularly North Korea.

Last week Mr Blatter said football had the power to "make a step forward" in helping to unite people on the peninsula.

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