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Beckham, Blatter and World Cup bartering

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David Bond | 13:38 UK time, Friday, 14 May 2010

With David Beckham on hand to present their eight kilogramme bid book and David Cameron on the telephone offering his support to Fifa president Sepp Blatter, England's 2018 World Cup team undoubtedly won the PR battle in Zurich on Friday.

Unfortunately for them, celebrities and politicians will not be enough on their own to bring what is now arguably the world's biggest sports event back to England for the first time since 1966.

A strong technical bid - highlighting modern stadiums, English football's commercial strength and channelling that cash into a new global fund for the game - is half the battle.

The other half will be played out in hotel lobbies around the world as England's international strategy team - led by former Arsenal vice chairman David Dein - tries to convince the 24 members of the Fifa executive committee to choose them when they vote on 2 December.

That is not to say Beckham will not have an influence. His presence in Singapore when London won the bid to stage the 2012 Olympics was undoubtedly significant and his presence on that routemaster bus alongside Jimmy Page at the closing ceremony for the Beijing Games in 2008 tells you he is now our one genuine sporting statesman.

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The 35-year-old former England captain's performance at Fifa House in Zurich was, as ever, self deprecating and genuine. His appeal to Blatter to give the World Cup to England because of the passion of our fans was heartfelt.

Blatter, however, is the shrewdest of political operators. The already complicated World Cup contest for 2018 and 2022 is made even more difficult to call once you factor in his 2011 re-election.

Two weeks ago, the 74-year-old Swiss set alarm bells ringing inside England's bid team when he described the Russian bid as "remarkable" and appeared to praise the country's "plans to expand". It confirmed what bid leaders have been saying for a while now - that Russia presents England's biggest threat.

The joint bid from Spain and Portugal is well connected politically and will carry the advantage of support from the bloc of three Fifa votes from the South American federation.

But the most entertaining submission so far on Friday came from Holland and Belgium, whose five-man delegation, which included Ruud Gullit and Johan Cryuff, rode in on bikes to stress their bid's green credentials. They are outsiders but Gullit told Blatter that their staging of Euro 2000 (is it really a decade ago?) shows they can handle big tournaments.

At the moment, the accepted wisdom is that these European bidders will battle it out for 2018 while the other five - USA, Australia, Qatar, Japan and Korea will contest 2022. But at the moment, Fifa is still accepting bids for both 2018 and 2022 from those countries who, like England, wish to double up.

Blatter tried to clear up which year England were going for, asking bid chairman Lord David Triesman on stage during the handover which one were they going for. Triesman, showing all the diplomatic skills learned during his time as a foreign office minister, turned the question back on Blatter saying they were happy for Fifa to decide.

There is no sign of that happening. England want to cut a deal with Australia or the USA to support them for 2022 in return for their backing for 2018. But until all that is cleared up, it is very hard to predict how this race will play out.

Update 1430 BST

England's big rivals Russia have just made their presentation, which was led by the country's deputy prime minister, Igor Shuvalov.

Vladimir Putin's number two promised Fifa president Sepp Blatter that Russia's bid was the only one out of the four European bidders which could transform a country.

Blatter was then handed a personal letter from Putin emphasising his support for the campaign, a move he welcomed, saying he was happy to see the leaders of the biggest country in the world getting behind football.

Cannot read too much into it, but Blatter's body language seemed much warmer to the Russians than the English delegation.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I would say it is a given the World Cup is the biggest sporting event and it is not "arguable"

  • Comment number 2.

    I really hope that we can get the World Cup back in England. 54 years is a long time without it and if we don't get it soon then the chances are that I will only see it once in my life in my own country!

    http://the-fa-premier-league.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 3.

    While even as a scot I would welcome an English held world cup, can we actually afford it as the Olympics cost is still rising and with that lottery funds that could help fund finding the next stars that could maybe appear at the world cup in 8 or 12 years time they are disappearing down the sink hole that is the Olympics without keeping some aside for Glasgow in 2014

  • Comment number 4.

    At number 1:

    'I would say it is a given the World Cup is the biggest sporting event and it is not "arguable"'

    We'll forget about the Olympics then as obviously the World Cup is definately bigger than this sporting event?

    I think thats why the World Cup being the worlds sporting event is 'aguable'.

  • Comment number 5.

    54 years and still, very probably, waiting. It's ridiculous that "the home of Football" continues to be ostracized by that awful anglophobe Blatter. The sooner they get rid of the dinosaur the better but then I guess he'll be replaced by the next in line Platini - I'll have to change my screen name when that happens!

  • Comment number 6.

    Joint bids should be banned.

  • Comment number 7.

    For me, tournaments with co-hosts never have the same atmosphere as those hosted by a single country. I really don't think joint bids should be allowed. I also think there should be a longer time period before a country can bid again with Japan and South Korea having hosted in 2002. I think if USA were to get it in 2022 that gap between tournaments would be just about right, 28 years.

    Russia is definitely the major threat to England's bid for 2018 and I would be amazed if Australia didn't get it in 2022.

  • Comment number 8.

    why should russia win it, they stadiums are terrible and lacking, and it would nly benefit the western area of russia,

  • Comment number 9.

    I am hoping that Australia will win the bid for 2018. I don't think the suggestion to support England for 2018 in return for 2022 support makes much sense. What about if its done the other way round, England supports Australia for 2018 and then Australia supports England for 2022?

    I also think that joint bids should only be considered if all the single bids are not up to scratch.

    Full time analysis

  • Comment number 10.

    Am I Ihe only one who is getting massively depressed at living in a world where everything is done behind closed doors with political agendas that serve only politicians and not the people? Fooball fans could be the biggest pressure group in the world if they got organised. Would we vote Blatter in? Would we let clubs run up massive debts? I doubt it. Surely, fans should be represented on every board and every FA and FIFA commitee, or are we just going to let the money men squeeze everything that's noble from the game in the pursuit of ever bigger pay days? England deserve the WC for giving the modern game to the world. End of.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    There are a lot of rich, powerful people connected with Russia and money definitely talks.

    It's not just about having Beckham and the actual facilities to stage a World Cup. It's all about the 21st century and welcoming new countries to the 'football family'. England is seen as traditionalist and 20th century in the eyes of a globalised world.

  • Comment number 13.

    FIFA are a charity after all (despite Blatter/Platini and whoever most likely working for millions), and with Putin pretty much begging Blatter (I'll also "invest" in football /wink) it's obvious where his choice is.

    As for changing a country, I seriously doubt that, outside of Western Russia, or even Moskow, you'll be unlikely to see a game.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think we should make a bid for the 2022 world cup ad not for 2018. As much as I would love to see the WC staged in this country, it is important to recognise that football still needs to expand it's appeal. Russia need the WC more than England, I think they should get it.

    We already have great infrastucture and interest in football. It is important for the development of football that other nations catch up.

  • Comment number 15.

    On paper Englands bid is the best.

    I dont understand the tone of this blog though. It seems as if it is trying to find negativity in our bid.

    England have tickd all the boxes but the only thing that it doesnt have going for it is we cant claim we need the bid. The Russians claim they need the bid to help transform the country but I doubt the people are on the governments mind. For followers of football I think it will be a travesty if it doesnt go to a western country like us or Holland/Belgium. We have one in South Africa, and there will be problems, FIFA and S.A will brush a lot under the carpet but I can bet my house on it, next in Brazil and again hardly a safe haven for hundreds and thousands of tourists straining the infrastructure to follow teams.

    Whats most important is that football needs this world cup to happen in England besides a country like russia shouldnt use the excuse of requiring football to sort itself out.

  • Comment number 16.

    I really want England to win the bid to host the world cup but the people you have to bend over backwards to please are a rogue's gallery of flip flopping and abuse of power. Fifa is a terribly run organisation and the fact that Blatter is going for re-election in 2011 is a troubling sign for the future of world football.

    It's almost not worth bidding so you don't have to put your fate in the hands of these crooks.

  • Comment number 17.

    3. At 2:24pm on 14 May 2010, Graham Paterson wrote:
    While even as a scot I would welcome an English held world cup, can we actually afford it as the Olympics cost is still rising and with that lottery funds that could help fund finding the next stars that could maybe appear at the world cup in 8 or 12 years time they are disappearing down the sink hole that is the Olympics without keeping some aside for Glasgow in 2014

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    i think the difference between the olympics and staging the world cup is that most of the things needed for the world cup are pretty much already in place, whereas, the olympics have reqired investment in a lot of new infastructure. there would be a cost, no doubt but not anywhere near the tune of the olympic games in london

  • Comment number 18.

    A No.1 - I think you will find that, going by a number of criteria, the Summer Olympic Games is a far bigger sporting event than the World Cup. So it is indeed 'arguable', which is the bigger of the two.

  • Comment number 19.

    @ Gazza

    The olympics do not even come close to the sporting event the World Cup is. Not even close.

  • Comment number 20.

    If England dont get the World Cup in 2018, it will be a complete joke - which country can boast not only engouh stadia to host the competition ALREADY - meaning no financial outlay by the government as would have to be done in other countries - let alone all the plans in progress to expand stadia by the respective clubs. But also the atmosphere created in English stadia, the passion of the fans, and everything pretty much in place such as transport systems. Plus Im pretty sure none of the English stadia will be using a plastic turf pitch!!
    Plus it will be over 50 years since the home of football hosted the biggest tournament in football! it has to come back sooner rather than later surely!

  • Comment number 21.

    David ended the post with: "Cannot read too much into it, but Blatter's body language seemed much warmer to the Russians than the English delegation."

    Well... as someone who works with businesses and organisations wishing to observe and understand people's behaviour and emotions... I say, yes you can read a LOT into his body language or more particularly his expressions.

    (And just to be clear, I'm not talking about silly pseudo science)

    As I mentioned on a previous blog post - If anyone has seen "Lie to me" with Tim Roth (based on real behavioural science) or has heard of the idea of micro-expressions (where someone's true emotions leak out via facial expression), then have a look at the video of Becks and Blatter on this site - specifically at 2mins 33sec.

    The expression given (and, like all micro-expressions, was one that Blatter could not hide) represents his true feelings at that moment.

    His particular expression is best characterized as 'disgust'. Blatter's face clearly shows this at exactly the moment he quotes Beckham and his reference to "passion".

    What you can't tell from this is what it specifically means, but it was nonetheless an expression of disgust when referencing English passion.

    Make of this what you will, but I for one am not holding out for English success.

  • Comment number 22.

    Of course we won't win this bid; the Russians make more political sense and it would make more capitalist-tic sense to the advertisers that run the game.

    The 2008 ECL final was the test, and they passed.

    Would I travel there if we qualified? No.

  • Comment number 23.

    Just so no one else does it and so I retain some modicum of sanity, I've a couple of points to make:

    Firstly, 2010 - 1966 = 44, not 54.

    Secondly, even if England win the right to host the 2018 World Cup, it won't be either 44 or 54 years, it'll be 52.

  • Comment number 24.

    Depends. Olympics is for athletes the biggest event, but if you were to go for a footballing term, I'd argue it's the World Cup.

    "David Beckham has delivered the 1,752-page bid book which he hopes will persuade Fifa to award England the 2018 World Cup."

    Interesting, 1752 page bid book...I wonder if those guys at Fifa will read it all ¬.¬...

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    David...what effect would the TV scheduling of the games have in terms of sponsorship etc if some of the matches were played out in Eastern Russia, whilst the rest were in the West of the country? Would International TV deals have any a bearing in countries votes nowadays, or wouldn't it pose much of a problem straight after the Brazil WC?

  • Comment number 29.

    tonnaboy10, why do you forget that there is a big wide world out there, very different to your own? The World Cup is not obviously the biggest sporting event in the world (in fact 4.7bn people watched the Beijing Olympics 1bn the World Cup final [http://tinyurl.com/5gkeat%5D)!

    The reason is there are huge swathes of the world which care very little for the World Cup, but do care about the Olympics. Notably the world's richest and most populous countries - the US and China (and India). This is why the Olympics is such a big deal, of course.

  • Comment number 30.

    tonnaboy10, why do you forget that there is a big wide world out there, very different to your own? The World Cup is not obviously the biggest sporting event in the world (in fact 4.7bn people watched the Beijing Olympics 1bn the World Cup final)!

    The reason is there are huge swathes of the world which care very little for the World Cup, but do care about the Olympics. Notably the world's richest and most populous countries - the US and China (and India). This is why the Olympics is such a big deal, of course.

  • Comment number 31.

    People are missing a massive factor from the russian bid. As someone who has travelled to Russia, the visa situation is an absolute nightmare, as is the bureaucracy and the police. A visa is very expensive, and the russian authorities are not pleasant and open to deal with.
    Unless russia changes their policies for the world cup it will hardly be a friendly carnival atmosphere as witnessed at the last world cup in Germany for instance.
    If russia wins the bid, it will be purely about money, but then again with Fifa, when has that not been the case?

  • Comment number 32.

    To add to the argument of whether the Football WC or the Olympics is the largest sporting event:

    The Olympics has a far greater number of teams/nations/athletes participating and a greater variety of sports with different facilities required to host them. For example, the Olympics feature such varied events as sprints, diving, marathon, fencing, swimming, etc... Meanwhile, the Football World Cup only features football and diving.

    However, TV viewership numbers would seem to point strongly towards the World Cup, even though FIFA admitted in 2007 that it had greatly exaggerated (by as much as 75%) or even 'guessed' viewership figures. Regardless, it's thought that the WC remains ahead of any other sporting event.

    So overall, it's still 'arguable' depending on which angle you look at things from.

  • Comment number 33.

    see Comment 21 by Often-Amazed

    watching the video i honestly have no idea what you are on about mate, talk about stirring up a load of nonsense. its not "disgust", just looked like he was searching for the word. of course, if you watch a fictional tv show on Sky 1, then i suppose you must be well informed in these matters, i guess i have to bow to your superior knowledge... :) on the other hand, i don't like Blatter, he doesn't like the english, and he probably won't give us the World Cup. thats the way it is, i think that you are reading far too much into that video though.

  • Comment number 34.

    Sorry but Mr Beckham is a man from the past.
    He is an individual publicity seeker and some would
    say the most over hyped footballer in the history
    of the game. Please give him the knighthood that
    he seeks and get some young team players up front.

  • Comment number 35.

    Russia is a terrible choice. It's not really about the despicable regime (we did have the Olympics in China, after all), but surely the distances between the cities would make travelling rather taxing. Managing schedules for matches played in different time zones won't be easy, either. Russian fans are known to organize "battles", brawling with each other regularly. Really, Bosnia could bid with Montenegro and it would be a better choice - less violence, shorter distances, better weather. Less likelihood of an invasion into a sovereign country happening, too (remember Georgia during the Olympics?).

    The Russian bid has just ONE thing going for it: millions and millions being funneled into Blatter and Co.'s pockets. I am not English and do not aim to sound bitter: that's how it is. And no, I wouldn't go to Russia. I would go to England, even if my home team didn't qualify. It would be a great opportunity to spend a week or two there.

    I think the Dutch/Belgian bid isn't awful, either. They do have "passion" for footbal there, too, and stadiums, and infrastructure. They have also proven they can do a really good job.

  • Comment number 36.

    I can't see England winning either bid. We are just too unpopular with the rest of the world. Maybe it's to do with our former Empire. Shame the world can't move on.

  • Comment number 37.

    I've just clicked on the football homepage and the headline is about this over exposed over paid individual, FA Cup Final preview out of sight, sort it out!

  • Comment number 38.

    Pretty impressive stuff, i don't know many people that would be able to say 'you know' 48 times in a 6 minute interview.

  • Comment number 39.

    #33 - MaloneGod "...if you watch a fictional tv show on Sky 1, then i suppose you must be well informed in these matters, i guess i have to bow to your superior knowledge... :)"

    I do it for a living, a very well paid living. The TV reference was purely for those who may have seen the series... which is actually based on the *real* (i.e non fiction) work of Dr Paul Ekman. Google him and you'll see this is *not* "stirring up a load of nonsense".

  • Comment number 40.

    The problem with World Cup bids and FIFA in particular is the politics surrounding them. Blatter has never been pro-England and has plenty of similar-minded followers (see Jack Warner, Mr Concaef, and one dodgy character). If all things were equal, England's bid would be the strongest, but I can see us losing out thanks to political wrangling and the ego of Sepp Blatter.

    I hope I'm proved wrong.

  • Comment number 41.

    #5 - you could always go for FettuccineInPlatini....


    What on earth needed to be on 1752 pages? They've probably decided behind the scenes anyway - it probably won't come to us!

  • Comment number 42.

    Andrew Jennings writes some interesting stuff on FIFA: riddled with corruption which goes right to the top with individuals such as Jack Warner. Wrote a piece last year on why England wouldn't get these bids: because Warner holds the swing votes.

    The main problem with England is not so much their capacity to run the event but that other countries use the WC to regenerate and upgrade stadia and reach different parts of their population that can be relatively untouched by planet football.

    And they have already had the WC.

    And I don't think that it should have been a solo bid. Perhaps they should have gone in with Scotland (plenty of stadia but no major tournament) or less so the Irish (one stadium and no major tournament)

  • Comment number 43.

    "A strong technical bid - highlighting modern stadiums"

    Scuse me? Stadiums like Wembley? That's a laugh. It may be acceptable to hold matches for dinky little contests like the FA Cup at Wembley, but we're talking about the World Cup here.

  • Comment number 44.

    Of course the Olympics are a bigger event. There are more athletes, more events to organize (and thus immense scheduling issues - dont forget most events have multiple qualification rounds), and multiple venues, even if they are just in one or two cities.

    The World Cup is the second biggest sporting event on the planet - that's still pretty huge.

  • Comment number 45.

    Save 'quotes of the week'.

  • Comment number 46.

    ***If Russia or any other European bidder wins 2018, England cannot bid to host a World Cup for 12 more years!***

    This is why all the Europeans are gunning for 2018 (12 years since Germany), as new rules state a continent can only host one in three World Cups.

  • Comment number 47.

    It may be big, but the olympics may well also be the most boring sporting event in the global sporting calendar. While I appreciate the ancient and enduring nature of its origins, I feel that it contains some of the most ridiculously pointless "events" of anything in the athletic calendar. Plus none of them last more than like 5 minutes...

  • Comment number 48.

    39. At 8:10pm on 14 May 2010, Often-Amazed wrote:
    #33 - MaloneGod "...if you watch a fictional tv show on Sky 1, then i suppose you must be well informed in these matters, i guess i have to bow to your superior knowledge... :)"

    I do it for a living, a very well paid living. The TV reference was purely for those who may have seen the series... which is actually based on the *real* (i.e non fiction) work of Dr Paul Ekman. Google him and you'll see this is *not* "stirring up a load of nonsense".

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Fantasist!

  • Comment number 49.

    @ No. 43 buymespresso

    Wembley not good enough to host the World Cup? What planet are you living on? It's one of the best stadiums in the world, better than anything South Africa or Brazil have got.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    2018's got to be England's. We have the stadia and we have the organization. Japan/Korea - be serious, they had it 8 years ago! Spain had it in 82. Russia's bid is the only one that could nick it away from us.
    But, come on, it's our game, we invented it.

  • Comment number 52.

    In order to get a russian visa you need to provide 3 months of bank statements, personal details on both you and your family, surrender your passport to them for somehing like two weeks and pay more than any other country I know.

    Racism is getting worse, check the british embassy website for russia, if your black or asian its not a wise idea to go there.

    Then there is the terrorist threats, recent bombings having a very high profile event will be very appealing to these people.

    And lets not forget the crime and corrupt officials/police..

    Giant time zone difference and distance between cities and relatively poor infrastrucure. No real world class stadiums and not a great track record when it comes to hosting global events

    So compared to England who have much lower crime, world class famous stadiums, no such issues wih entry into the country. A history of succesful hosting, etc etc.

    But despite all this the Russians are still favourites.


  • Comment number 53.

    @nemail99: Wembley might be one of the best stadiums in the world, the pitch at my local amateur football club is in a 1000% better condition!!

    If you look at the bidders from a fan-perspective, then the Holland/Belgium bid is the one to go for: right in the heart of Europe, easy to reach for most of the fans, by plane/bus/train/ferry/car and it's perfect even to cycle from one stadium to the other!

    From a political perspective Russia is the potential winner, a powerhouse with a lot of money in big brown envelopes to be handed out to potential bid-supporters (hellicopters/fighterjets for Africa and Venezuela, oil and gas for eastern Europe and China). Russia will be perfectly able to buy the vote. And, football is still a commercial grow market in Russia. Their clubs haven't really come centre stage, apart from Zenith St. Petersburgh, but there's serious money in the game and they are still on the up.

    England is too sure of itself. "home of football, biggest stadiums, biggest clubs, bladibladibla." Many clubs are in serious debt and Portsmouth will definitely not be the last Premier league club to implode. And then again: what makes the premier league the "best" league in Europe? The foreign players and managers! England should first focus on raising homegrown players into the premier league and then make a serious attempt to get a world cup on the island.

  • Comment number 54.

    @1 tonnaboy10

    not heard of the olympics mate??

  • Comment number 55.

    OranjeRotterdam

    Your telling me the dutch leagues arent flooded with foreigners?

    And as for being to sure of ourselves, i think youve mis understood. This are just facts. England is regarded as the home of football wheter you like it or not.

    The most fmaous stadiums are in England, Anfield, Old Trafford, Wembley, go anywhere around the world and ask fans and Im sure they would rather go to these stadiums over Feijenoord Stadion or Philips Stadion

    Facts are England is in a much better position to hold bid, your bid is a joint bid and they are never looked on as favourable. Apart from that you guys have a great bid, much better than any of the others but not quite as good as Englands. If we didnt win I rather it be on our doorstep than anywhere else

  • Comment number 56.

    No. 49# How can you know that Wembley has the best stadiums than anything Brazil or South Africa has when you have never seen the new World Cup stadiums.

    Maybe that is why England will not host the World Cup anytime soon because the English have an entitlement mentality. The lesson of 2000 when your bid was 3rd only to Germany and South Africa should have taught you that other countries come better prepared because they do not have an entitlement mentality.

    Football is a world game and every country deserves a chance to host it.

  • Comment number 57.

    I wonder why Blatter reacts more warmly to the Russian delegation? I wonder if FIFA are more likely to benefit financially if a Russian bid is successful? Just wonder...

    FWIW, I don't think we are 'entitled' to it, but of the major Western European countries, it is the longest since we had it. Russia have a strong case, having never hosted it, but what a prospect for a World Cup...travelling 000s of kilometres around that place...

  • Comment number 58.

    It's going to be tough for England to host the world cup with Blatter in charge. Him, Warner and Platini have said it doesn't matter that England gave the world the game of football, well it should matter, and England should host the world cup in 2018, it's been too long.

    "Two weeks ago, the 74-year-old Swiss set alarm...", Swiss what? Swiss roll, Swiss knife? Swiss is an adjective not a noun. Journos and commentators have started to describe Ronaldo as "The Portuguese", instead of the "Portugeuse man". "The Swiss" and "the Portuguese" are collective nouns, talking about the people of those countries. You can make single word adjectives from some countries like American, German, Brazilian, Australian. But not others including, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan. I wouldn't expect such ugly English from the BBC.

  • Comment number 59.

    What the English bid should have done (and tying into another story this week) is to print the bid book an all those 500 Euro notes that aren't being sold by currency exchanges any more... ;^)

  • Comment number 60.

    #56 JustinCase - you're right, every country, who wants to, deserves a chance to host the world cup. I doubt England will put in a bid every 4 years. But when they do put in a bid they should not be handicapped by the fact that England is the home of football.

    Like it or not, the group of people who make law changes are 1/3 British, 4 of the 12 people; representatives from the FAs of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Becasue they understand the game, the spirit of the game. I don't think there is anything wrong with what you term "entitlement mentality", as long as the English bid measures up in all other areas.

  • Comment number 61.

    Stadium wise we certainly have an strong lead.

    10 Stadiums expected. Any more must be agreed with FIFA (as per Germany did and Brazil will both having 12)
    Must be in 'tip-top' condition.
    Only 1 city may have 2 stadiums but both can't be used on the same day. Also 2 stadiums of cities quite close can count in this bracket (e.g. Newcastle/Sunderland) and their must be a set FIFA distance of two grounds not being able to hold games on the same day.
    Terracing and barriers forbidden.
    All must seat at least 40,000
    Stadium(s) seating at least 60,000 for the opener and semi-finals
    Stadium seating at least 70,000 for the final
    Seats for press and commercial etc.
    Video Screens
    Top class CCTV and security personnel (Certainly England has an excellent system which many in Europe could learn from!)
    All stadius must be cleared of 'club' sponsorship and only sponsors of the tournament. E.g Emirates Stadiums would be renamed like Allianz Arena in Munich was.
    Pitch dimension 105x68m. Artificial grass is forbidden.
    Studios for TV media
    Places for photographers around the outside of the pitch.
    Suitable transport/roads in place to stadium. Can be temporary if for purpose of tournament.
    Announcers. Those able to communicate in the two languages of the competing teams and the host language.

    Then theres all other aspects of hosting a WC.

    Looking at it, Belgium/Netherlands does not posses a stadium currently to hold an opener/SF/F and 5 stadiums each could be tricky with all the aspects and logistics. Euro 2000 was only just possible with minimum 30,000 and only 50,000 needed for a final. Will FIFA allow joint hosting?

    Spain has the stadium and I feel if they share with Portugal, the former will provide the most stadia. Nou Camp holds 98,000 but Bernabeau (sp?) would most probably hold the final. Estadio da Luz in Lisbon only hold 65,000 (possible for any game barring the final) with only Jose Alvalade and Estadio do Dragao (both just over 50,000) big enough WC wise. Again is joint hosting allowed?

    Never know what might happen.

    Russia- Big enough but have they enough stadiums and the logistics and time-differences?

    USA- Definetly strong with 94 behind them and coped with the TD problem.

    Japan and SK separately have 02 behind them so know what to do.

    Qatar has been doubted by many even in FIFA with only 1.3 million population, barely enough land for stadiums and biggest stadium currently proposed at only 45,000. Plus minimum daily temparature 30oC in june!

    Australia: Have stated that some grounds do need upgrading and decision made if ground are being built. Agreements are required between stadium owners and OC over use of the stadium (after the Ethiad Stdium controversy!). 5 different time-zones but have coped ok in the past.

  • Comment number 62.

    Travelling distances between cities in Russia should not be used as a reason why it should not host the World Cup. In USA 94, Boston and Philadelphia hosted matches and they happened to be 4358kms (2708 miles) apart. I guess Australia would also present a similar challenge.

    England is fortunate to have all the infranstructure in a country basically the size of Kwazulu-Natal (one of the provinces hosting matches in South Africa), but that should not be the reason why they should be chosen ahead of Russia.

    I agree with #60 that the bid should measure up but if all things were equal, Russia deserves it more than England purely because they never hosted it.

  • Comment number 63.

    If Beckham mentions the word "passion" again, I think i'm gonna scream...

  • Comment number 64.

    Definately think England should get the world cup - home of football - all the infrastructure is in place - well policied - the selection process though seems shrouded in mystery and much like a lot at Fifa - there is no accountability or explanation of decisions - something unsavoury about Fifa

  • Comment number 65.

    Just saw the FA Cup final and my goodness did you see the pitch at Wembley????

    I have seen amateur players play on better pitches in Africa.

    By the way, did you know that the Sun never sets on the English empire???

  • Comment number 66.

    It should be England but it probably wont be, because of Blatter, Platini and Russia's money.
    The Wembley pitch breaks up easily because it never has time to bed down. I presume this wouldn't be the case if we were to get the world cup.

    Save QOTW but not Rafa.

  • Comment number 67.

    @singhy

    That's 4.7 billion over the entire length of the olympic games. The viewing figures for the entire 2006 FIFA World Cup were 26.29 billion - it seems to me the disparity is huge.

    [Unsuitable URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 68.

    @ 67. corivea

    You do know that the current worlds population is about 6.8 billion!

    Where are you getting 26.29 billion from?

  • Comment number 69.

    @ 67. corivea

    I understand what you mean by 26.29 Billion viewings

  • Comment number 70.

    I think people especially from this country need to start wising up and accepting Sepp Blatter and what he does for football. Just because we live seperately from the rest of europe doesn't mean we are independent from them. We are still PART of Europe.

    Sepp Blatter does what he thinks is best for Football and I don't think if he disagrees with us its because he doesn't accept us, he does it because he thinks its best for football. And Theere are other countries that have not hosted the world cup before that would definitely benefit from it.

    So I think we should be accepting of the defeat when Russia beat us to it!

  • Comment number 71.

    I think australia has a pretty good bid, and I would like to see us in 2018 and england in 2022. We have good infrastructure: MCG (100000), ANZ (85000), Several others that have over 50000 capacity. We just need to upgrade the ones that need it. I think with Melbourne Commonwealth Games 06, olympics '00 and Rugby World Cup '03, we have shown we can really hold a tournament and hold it well. Sydney Olympcs was aruguably one of the best olympics ever. We have passionate sports follwers and many pubs and bars to cater for everyone.

  • Comment number 72.

    England won the PR battle on Friday, and totally lost it (and as a result, the whole contest) today. Lord Triesman and The Mail on Sunday: take a bow, you must be very proud.

  • Comment number 73.

 

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