Sources close to the negotiations with New Zealand said talks centred around both countries getting the split right between what they put in and what they get out of the tournament, and that if an agreement could not be reached whether Australia still could submit a solo bid.
Other bidders include Japan, South Korea and North Korea (possibly a joint bid), South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.
FIFA will announce the winning bid at the 2020 FIFA Congress in June.
Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula said the state government had chosen AAMI Park as Victoria’s stadium for the bid. The venue was also used for the 2015 Asian Cup.
Pakula and Nikou would not be drawn on where the final would be held should Australia host the World Cup, but acknowledged it would be difficult for the MCG to be free in the tournament’s June-July window.
“There is no doubt that in those months of the year, and particularly when you’ve got quite a large window around games which is required by FIFA for ground availability, June-July in terms of the MCG is somewhat problematic,” Pakula said.
He said there had already been discussions with AAMI Park’s other tenants Melbourne Storm (NRL) and Melbourne Rebels (Super Rugby) about where they would play should the stadium be unavailable.
“Unless the bid is successful the [state government’s financial] contribution is zero,” Pakula said.
“We would make a contribution along with other states and territories to whatever the FIFA license fee would be.
“And there may be some necessity for some minor changes to it [AAMI Park] for it to conform with FIFA rules.”
Pakula also announced that government body Global Victoria had pledged $10,000 to Melbourne Victory’s W-League side, who will become the only Australian team to take part in next week’s inaugural AFC Women’s Club Championship in South Korea.
“I am really looking forward to Korea,” Victory defender Jenna McCormick said.
“It was one of the reasons as to why I wanted to come here because I wanted to experience some more international football and play against the best in Asia.
“That’s a really great opportunity for the club to win some more silverware.”
Anthony is a sports reporter at The Age.