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On air: Russia to host 2018 World Cup and Qatar to host 2022

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Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 00:00 UK time, Thursday, 2 December 2010

Fifa logo in Zurich



This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 02 December 2010. Listen to the programme.

LATEST FROM ZURICH:

It's official. Russia will host the 2018 Fifa World Cup. And Qatar won the bid to host 2022. Thousands of you have been contacting us from all over the world with your reaction to the news and we'll be talking to some of you on the programme to see what you think.

...and now, as we head into the final stages of this titanic battle for the (hosting of) the World Cup, let's join our commentary team of Ben Sutherland in London and Alex Capstick at Fifa HQ in Zurich. Ben, just fill us in on what's been happening so far...

Well Ros, as you say, it's been a much-anticipated clash in Zurich, and it's certainly been eventful so far - even if no-one's yet scored the crucial winner.

Out there, on this biggest of world stages, are representatives from - appropriately enough - 11 nations.

Some - the English and the Spanish in particular - are veterans who have been here before. Indeed, England first got picked some 44 years ago.

When Fifa's scouts came to have a look round, they found both bids were "low risk" and scored particularly well on things like stadia (England's legendary Wembley Stadium, Villa Park; Spain's Camp Nou and Bernabeu; Portugal's Stadium Of Light) and transport.

They're both tussling for 2018 - Spain in partnership with Portugal. Fifa have in the past (indeed, as recently as 2009 ) said they are against joint bids - (although recently that stance seemed to soften), which may go against the Iberian campaign.

On the other hand, Spain/Portugal's domestic media hasn't just broadcast a programme attacking Fifa and naming one of the key people said to be backing their vote as being involved in procuring $84,000 worth of World Cup Finals tickets, nor did their bid leader have to quit after a newspaper set him up with a hideous honey trap-style sting operation.

What of the other bidders? Desperate to come off the sub's bench are the Netherlands and Belgium. The Dutch in particular have a fantastic footballing history, and have reached three World Cup finals - one more than all the other eight bidders put together. However, co-hosting there has been described as "a challenge", and there is a lack of government guarantees - something that very much concerns Fifa (and is in contrast to, for example, England, whose Prime Minister - despite criticism - has spent the three days leading up to the announcment in Zurich). The current odds on this bid being successful are 40/1, which is the same price you'll currently get on Tim Cahill to finish the season as Premier League top scorer, so it's unlikely they'll be dancing in the streets of Bruges tomorrow.

Then there is Russia. Their bid is described as representing "a project similar in ambition to South Africa."

It's certainly the biggest country that the World Cup has never been to, which is both a benefit and a problem. There are ambitious plans for 13 new stadiums - which would leave a fantastic legacy.

But again, there seems to be a lack of support from government, typified by the no-show of Vladimir Putin in Zurich this week. And the vast distances involved mean flying will be the only fans can get to the matches. This has left the transport part of the Russian bid being labelled "high risk," which are never words you want to see when you're hoping to stage a major sporting event.

Have they got a good touch for a big country? We'll soon know.

Then there's 2022. Five countries in the mix here - Australia, Japan, the USA, South Korea and Qatar.

Australia are the mid-ranking side here. They've never hosted before, and are a sport-made country with a history of hosting big events. But the World Cup would clash with the Australian rugby league season - something Fifa frown on, as nothing should be allowed to clash with the World Cup in the host nation (for similar reasons, Wimbledon may adversely affect the England bid).

Japan and Korea, of course, hosted as recently as 2002. Even though the Korea bid includes plans to try and stage some matches in the North, the close proximity in time is the main reason the odds on them getting the nod are so long.

The last US World Cup was not too much further back, in 1994 (remembered mostly as the tournament that began and ended with a penalty miss) but they are second favourites. Massively in their favour is that USA '94 was the most commercially successful World Cup of them all.

But out in front is Qatar. There's never been a Middle Eastern World Cup and this is a big time for sport in that region - witness the milliions spent on securing two Formula One races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. Money would be no object. And they are represented by, among others, Zinedine Zidane.

On the other hand, it's going to be hot - there are fears that temperatures could reach 50 degrees. And in a friendly between England and Brazil last year, the atmosphere was akin to that in the immediate vacinity of Space Station Mir.

So who do you think should get the bid? Where would you like to see the World Cup being held?

There will be two special editions of World Cup Have Your Say at 0930 GMT on Thursday and Friday. Follow me on Twitter - @bensutherland


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