In a press conference hosted in the Grand Hesperian Hotel Complex, an official for the Mars Football Federation – who identified his or herself only as ‘Xerxes’ – today announced Mars’s plans to make an official bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
“It is with great pleasure and surpassing pride that I stand here, in the most football-mad city in the Aurorae Sinus Prefecture, and announce to you Mars’ plans to host the 2026 World Cup!” stated X, in a voice resembling a low thrum.
Opening up the room to questions, X countered suggestions from assembled journalists that the fact that liquid water cannot exist on the surface of Mars due to low atmospheric pressure may prove to be a barrier to the tournament – typically held on Earth in the months of June and July every four years – being hosted there.
“This is spurious nonsense – we have our own internationally respected leagues, with many retired managers taking control of the teams.”
“Many greats of the game have declared themselves impressed with our facilities and burgeoning infrastructure!”
Citing the example of Qatar being awarded the 2022 World Cup, and the repeated insistence of FIFA President, Sepp Blatter that the game stands to benefit from such tournaments being held in countries or
galaxies where football has not previously enjoyed such large audiences, nor the opportunity to mine the local commercial market, X claimed that local interest in football is growing year on year.
“Just last week, the first Mars-based chapter of the David Beckham Soccer School was initiated in the neighbouring Syrtis Major province.”
When pressed on whether the absence of oxygen, or the volatile iron sulphide core of the planet might yield further problems when attempting to stage the world’s largest and most lucrative football tournament, X rebuffed such concerns.
“We are aware of such potential hindrances, though are open to staging the tournament at a more amenable point in the calendar so as to best suit the participants, and, most importantly, the fans of this beautiful game.”
The latter point seemed to win the approval of the FIFA President, seated in the auditorium rendered hazy by the Iron-Oxide dust, who later commented: “we in the solar-system-wide footballing family look forward to welcoming Mars into our hearts.”