( dpa ) - Australia will bid to be the host of the 2018 World Cup, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Sunday.
The rugby-loving nation hopes to sideline frontrunners England, China and Russia for football's premier competition and the world's biggest sporting event.
Rudd acknowledged that winning from FIFA the right to host the month-long contest would be a "Herculean task," but noted the Sydney Olympics in 2000 had been lauded the "best ever" and that the 2003 Rugby World Cup and 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne had also won praise for organizers.
The host country for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be selected in 2011 and the Football Federation Australia has long held an ambition to be the host.
"Winning the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup is a Herculean task but overcoming tough odds is what Australian football does best," Rudd said.
"Soccer in Australia has 450,000 registered participants and has never been more popular. A bid to host the 2018 World Cup is a natural follow-on from the brilliant performance of the Socceroos at the 2006 World Cup and the success of the A-League."
The 2010 World Cup will be hosted by South Africa and Brazil has the honours in 2014. Germany, the hosts in 2006, drew 2 million overseas visitors for the event.
Sports Minister Kate Ellis said the government had not yet allocated a budget for the bidding.
"I think it's a bit early to be talking about specific figures," Ellis said. "We're still unclear of the extent of infrastructure upgrades and also because, obviously, there are going to be some negotiations with state governments about these bills, as well as the FFA."
She said Australia would need all its political lobbying resources to rally international support for its bid, she said.