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Why it's advance Australia fair for 2022

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Matt Slater | 17:04 UK time, Wednesday, 29 September 2010

White smoke was spotted over Wembley on Tuesday as David Dein, the international president of England's World Cup bid, confirmed the nation was about to pull out of the race to stage the competition in 2022 and focus its efforts on winning the vote to host the 2018 edition.

In related news, the BBC understands the Vatican City is set to make a statement about the Pope's religious leanings and the International Association for Bear Research and Management is on the verge of discovering what bears do in the woods.

Please do not think I am ungrateful to Dein for clearing up this matter of almost no debate, on the contrary. With England out of the picture for 2022, we can now look dispassionately at what I think is the more interesting of Fifa's two World Cup choices.

On a personal level, I care more about the result of the likely England v Russia v Spain/Portugal tussle for Europe's turn in 2018.

But on a professional level, I am intrigued about the challenge world football's governing body has set itself when it makes its 2022 decision in Zurich on 2 December.

By deciding to choose two World Cups in one sitting, Fifa is probably giving itself an eight-year break from the hassle of choosing where next to take its biggest event/fundraiser but it is also stretching the limits of what can be safely predicted about the type of World Cup the world's game will need/want in 12 years' time.

Ronaldo scores in 2002 World Cup final

Brazil's Ronaldo was one of the undoubted stars of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea

This question was foremost in my mind (honest) when I went along to a press briefing by Japan's bid for the 2022 World Cup (they dropped their 2018 claim a few months back) in London last week. With the Land of the Rising Sun up against Australia, Qatar, South Korea and the United States, I was hoping for illumination. I certainly got that.

"The initial reaction is this is a gimmick. Getting past that has been a communication challenge."

Gulp. Journalists are usually ready for anything - tight deadlines, bored interviewees, long lunches - but there are still a few things that catch us unawares: the truth, for example.

So when sports marketing guru and Japan bid advisor Patrick Nally stood up at the end of the presentation and admitted the pitch is a bit, erm, gimmicky and no, the voters don't get it...well, I was pleasantly surprised and a tiny bit relieved.

Surprised because bidders for major sports events never acknowledge "challenges" until things start falling down and relieved because this suggests Fifa will be making its 2022 choice for more old-fashioned reasons than which country can provide the most revolutionary "football contents" and the best "hyper applications".

I write "suggests" because reading too much into the nuanced language of bidding contests is a recipe for that journalistic favourite, egg served on a bed of face.

But I'm willing to stick my neck out here, Japan's bid will need more than the promise of lots more TV cameras at each game (200 compared to South Africa's barely adequate 30), a nod to this century being "Asia's" and something worthy about educational activities for 6,000 youngsters.

Those not-so-unique selling points are prerequisites for bids these days and Fifa's 24 Executive Committee members, the electorate, will want to hear more about breaking new ground, providing the best stage for the world's greatest players and what this World Cup will do for football's march towards international sporting dominance.

Planting flagpoles on virgin territory plays very well at Fifa HQ and the "been there, done that" effect will not help Japan's cause, or that of South Korea, Japan's 2002 World Cup partner, which has also thrown its hat into the 2022 ring. The 17th World Cup was a cracker but it was only eight years ago.

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane, a football legend with Arab links, has added his support to Qatar's campaign

Qatar, on the other hand, will be pinning its hopes on Sepp Blatter's pioneering instincts. The Fifa boss has a deciding vote in the case of a tie and his influence is considerable. Having taken the tournament to Africa, a first ever Arab World Cup would look great on his CV.

Unfortunately, that is the only place a Qatari World Cup makes sense. With a population of just over 1.6m and average daytime temperatures in excess of 40 degrees, the desert kingdom's bid is even more gimmicky than Japan's.

The Middle East clearly needs to diversify its economy, and football in the region should be encouraged, but does Qatar need a dozen air-conditioned, Fifa-standard football grounds (not to mention the facilities and hotel beds required to stage a month-long tournament that features 32 teams and 64 games)?

I don't think we will have to wait until December for an answer to that. The chairman of Fifa's inspection team, Chile's marvellously-monikered Harold Mayne-Nicholls, put the kibosh on Qatar earlier this month when he said staging a World Cup there "would pose a number of logistical challenges".

There's that c-word again. Nobody likes a challenge.

With this in mind, the US package looks strong: large sports-mad population, proven track record in staging big events, no obvious infrastructure weaknesses and plenty of scope for commercial activity.

On the minus side, like Japan and South Korea, memories of the American World Cup in 1994 are still fresh. But unlike its Asian rivals, the US bid has the unequivocal support of its neighbouring countries - it's not just Labour Party elections where bloc votes are significant.

But will this be enough to make up for a slightly lacklustre campaign (buried within Mayne-Nicholls's farewell platitudes were concerns about the reliance on NFL stadia and an overly inward focus to the bid's legacy plans)?

Football Federation Australia chief Frank Lowy and Fifa president Sepp Blatter

Aussie football chief Frank Lowy hands his nation's pitch to Fifa supremo Sepp Blatter

This brings me to the bid that survived the inspection visits with the brightest prospects.

Asian-facing but with ties to world football's Oceania region, Australia ticks a lot of boxes. Infrastructure, track record, sporting tradition, nice weather, decent food, it's hard to pick holes. The country's politicians even called a time-out during the recent election campaign to show Mayne-Nicholls and co a united front. He seemed to approve.

It is still too early to talk about hot favourites and rank outsiders - more will be known when Fifa releases the technical reports next month - but Down Under is looking a decent bet for 2022.

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  • Comment number 1.

    I live in the UAE which is like a 45 minute flight away from Qatar, so I would definitely like to see a WC there. But I think its about time for the WC to go to Australia. I feel they deserve to host it.

    "The Middle East clearly needs to diversify its economy, and football in the region should be encouraged, ......"

    Clearly Matt, you dont know much about the Mid East. Here, football is almost God. There is tons of passion for the game. Let me put it like this. In the Mid East, 79 out of 100 people are mad about football. If you are talking about the locals, its 100 out of 100 ! And most of them play well. Even the fat ones.
    In 12 years, the Mid East will be among the top 10 economies in the world, with the amount of oil that is still left here.
    If it is held in Qatar, believe it will be a smashing success.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think Australia as well.

    I'd almost certainly be supporting the US' bid were it not for '94, but I'd rather see how the country which gave us Sydney 2000 gets on, rather than going back to America - a nation which, given its level of interest in the Game, would be fortunate to receive a second world cup in the span of 30 years. If they do get it, good luck to them as they certainly have the capability, but I'd prefer Australia!

    Qatar 2022 is a one city bid, despite what anyone argues to the contrary. A city at least six times smaller than London, in a country with an average football crowd of way less than 8000 cannot hope to host a world cup. And that's before you even look at the temperatures, the number of hotels, the tourist appeal, the legacy etc etc.

    Japan and Korea, you're right, are just too soon.

  • Comment number 3.

    Something tells me that Blatter's obvious hatred towards English football will tip the 2018 bid into Russia's hands.
    2022 for the Aussies

  • Comment number 4.

    'Clearly Matt, you dont know much about the Mid East...In 12 years, the Mid East will be among the top 10 economies in the world, with the amount of oil that is still left here.'

    Clearly you don't know about country borders. The 'Mid East' cannot be amoung the top 10 economies in the world because is is a region not a country. The UAE might be, I can't see how Saudi Arabia could be as its been making huge profits from oil for decades, so if its not been a top 10 economy before, its highly unlikely that will change now.

    However, when the oil does dry up, the middle east will be in serious doo doo. I can only see the UAE surviving as a major economy, but probably Abu Dhabi only because Dubai is to much like a disneyland these days.

  • Comment number 5.

    Too soon for Japan, Korea and probably USA to host again. Also would be a bit wrong to have world cup matches in non-football stadiums.

    Australia could be a good shout but I think the time difference will be a big stumbling block.

    I think Qatar might just have a chance here...

  • Comment number 6.

    Evening all, a few early replies from me before I turn in for the night.

    The Ridiculous etc (1) - I'll take your word for it with those "people who are mad for football" stats but I think you're missing my point. Perhaps I should have written something more like "the region's undoubted passion for football should be encouraged/recognised.." but the thrust of my argument would have been the same. People in the Middle East may well like football - they do in China, all over SE Asia and in increasing numbers in India too - but they're not very good at it. Not yet, anyway. I've just looked at the Fifa rankings and I think Iran is the highest ranked team from the region at 57, Saudi Arabia is next at 73. Qatar are 104th.

    I'm also not sure about economic predictions. According to the latest figures from the IMF, I can only see 5 countries from the region in the top 50, with one of those being African and the highest ranked being Saudi at 26. How are you defining 'Mid East'? Does that include Israel? Qatar doesn't even recognise the region's 3rd largest economy. And if we're talking about 'the Mid East' shouldn't we be comparing it with our regional blocs? The EU or N America. Don't get me wrong, I wish the region well, particularly with those efforts to diversify the economy away from finite natural resources.

    RobH (2) - Good points, Rob, although there is something else worth saying about the US bid. The country may well have staged a recent WC but in footballing terms it is still a bit of an undeveloped resource. I think some people at Fifa will be sorely tempted to give the game there another leg-up, particularly when they look at the money the Olympic movement earns from US broadcasters.

    Bad-Mick (3) - I share your fears. But for slightly different reasons. I'm not convinced Blatter really 'hates' English football at all. He may sound off about the PL from time to time but he's really moaning about club v country issue and the PL is just the epitome of that. The real worry is that he'll be tempted to stage a first WC in E Europe for legacy reasons, particularly if the Russians can convince him football will be playing a part in rebuilding their nation. He'll like that.

  • Comment number 7.

    I've backpacked around Australia and there can be no argument, the sporting pedigree of the country is fantastic - the amount of top class sporting venues in and around melbourne alone is mind boggling.

    There is a problem with there bid that has been widely reported in Australia for some time and has suprisingly not been picked up in this article.

    AFL - the Australian Rules Football equivalent of the Premier League, run there season right smack bang in the middle of the world cup. This was discussed between the Australian governement, the Australian football association and the AFL (as well as a list of sports ministers, sponsors, representatives etc etc). The AFL refused to buckle to requests to postpone the season whilst the world cup was underway. In fact they even suggetsed that AFL games would still be given priority as they were worried about damage to the playing surface.

    AFL outside of Australia is non-existent and plenty of people have a chuckle at it when they first watch it but the problem is this sport is massive. It is Australia's most popular sport. Football is increasing its fanbase in Australia but for plenty of kids there idols are Chris Judd and Gary Ablett, not Tim Cahill and Harry kewell.

    When Fifa last visited they were said to be unimpressed by the problems the 2 sports were having coming to an agreement - the co-operation of the AFL is vital and from what i can gather there has been no headway on that yet. This may be shrugged off as a nothing issue but they take it very seriously in Australia and it could turn out to be a suprising deal breaker.

    I would be a crying shame if it didn't go to Australia because of an inability for the 2 sporting factions to iron out there differences - it's a great country with fantastic sporting heritage and with all the stadiums and infrastructure to manage something as big as a World Cup, they deserve a chance to.

  • Comment number 8.

    Yeah the issue is that AFL and rugby league which uses the stadiums that will be used in aussie have not agreed yet to take a break during the world cup.

    In such how is that going to be solved and it's not in there intrest to give football a boost just as the A league seems to be failing given the fall in the attendance and sponsership in the A league (three of the teams are now owned by the league) this compared to the MLS which by 2014 will have 20 teams and nearly 18 of those with there own revenue creating income stadiums.

    Plus there is over 300 million americans and 150 plus million football mad mexicans to the south. Plus finally the 1994 world cup still is the most attended (and profitable) world cup in history and it had only 24 teams. i can just see the fifa suits looking at the marketing and ticket money with eyes with dollar signs.

    While finally nearly all the big TV markets outside of aisa (even then it will be 2 to 3 hours ahead) are in europe, middle east and the americas which will be over 10 hours behind for alot of the matches.

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    Matt, I can only see this World Cup being Australia 2022.

    I don't see time difference and the AFL problem getting in the way either. All your points about the opposition bids are spot on.

    The Middle East is not going to hold a World Cup any time soon- certainly not in little Qatar, nor Dubai- sorry, the UAE

    (Actually, the only worthy candidate in the region is Iran- footballing tradition, nice weather, decent food, great culture, long history, huge country, numerous cities- but they won't get it, or bid for it, any time soon).

  • Comment number 11.

    A good read. Australia should get it but as mentioned the time difference could be a problem. I thought they had sorted out the issue with using the stadiums (namely MCG) during the AFL season.

    Mexico hosted 1970 and then 1986, so the USA could get it again, unfair but ticks a lot of FIFA boxes. USA don't really get international team sports, all their major team sports are domestic + Canada. They don't understand that a drawn game can be better than a 5-0 drubbing. Plus they like to mess with the laws, I remember in the 1970s MLS they had a line on the pitch, you couldn't shoot from outside this line. Japan too tried messing with the game, they didn't have draws in league games for the first few seasons of the J League. Fingers crossed for Australia.

  • Comment number 12.

    The Australian Rules non-issue is already resolved.

    Much of the World Cup will occur in New South Wales and Queensland (Sydney, Newcastle, Gold Coast and Brisbane) where Aussie Rules is an irrelevance, and where Rugby League will continue in non-World Cup stadia.

    That just leaves Perth and Adelaide, where new stadia will be used, and Melbourne where AFL will use Docklands while the World Cup will get the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

    The only problem is that only one of the two tourist Meccas is being used: the Gold Coasthas a suitable stadium but Cairns doesn't, which is a shame as the warmth would have made it a popular destination.

  • Comment number 13.

    AFL is only an issue in Victoria. Aussie is a big country with plenty of great stadia in other states - Brisbane has the Gabba and Suncorp for example, and there are other large venues in Queensland. Sydney and NSW have heaps too - then there is Perth...Even with AFL Melbourne has other top class stadia that will do the job. AFL won't get in the way of 2022.

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't think time difference will be much of a problem if 2022 goes to Australia. Getting up in the middle of the night or early morning is not an issue for die-hard fans! Australians do it all the time for other events - Europeans will survive

  • Comment number 15.

    Nice one, Skippy.
    I'm all for an Australian choice. I think they've shown on several occasions that they are a team that should not be lightly dismissed. They've earned it.

    As the competition would be in their winter, then British teams, should they qualify, won't be able to complain about the excessive heat (not that it did us much good in South Africa).

    I expect that the problems with the AFL will be easily overcome as soon the negotiations boil down to "Well how much money do you want".
    In that respect, I'm sure Sepp Blatter will be in his element.

    Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back?

  • Comment number 16.

    There is very little support for soccer at non-junior levels in Australia. It is the fourth football code after AFL, NRL and RU. The total attendance for all A-League matches on the first weekend of this season, which included some big games, was 2,000 more than Newcastle United got for some Championship games last season. It has gone downhill since – just over 2,000 at some matches. The Australian FA has taken its eye of the local game and pumped its resources into World Cup bids as three A-League teams have failed financially. Of those who do attend, many know little of football, it’s more a family outing at relatively low cost here (I’ve paid as little as $A12 for a pensioner ticket to Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium). Whether locals would pay high prices for WC games is debatable.

    The avid football followers tend to be ex-pats such as myself, paying more attention to European Leagues – principally the Premier League - and the Champions League. The standard of the A-League is not inviting.

    Australia is a continent. Its five significant cities are widely dispersed. Perth is about as far from Sydney as, say, Manchester is from Istanbul. Direct flights from Brisbane, halfway up the East Coast, to Perth take six hours, up to ten hours if you can’t fly direct. It’s about three hours to Adelaide. My kids fly a lot, and often can’t get direct flights to and from Brisbane to major destinations such as Melbourne and Canberra.

    Visiting fans would incur long and expensive flights to Australia, then long and expensive flights between venues. Teams would also be affected by long journeys between games.

    We have some good stadia, but some are designed with huge AFL pitches, spectators for football are far from the action.

    I think Australia’s bid is a bad joke. The previous government gave far more money for the bid (I think over $A$40m) than the total government support for the game over the years. Such events are regarded as valuable to the host country, in practice they rarely cover their costs. For example, the Sydney Olympics, widely regarded as highly successful, raised the gross state product of New South Wales by about 0.2% in the short term, while diverting tourists from other states – there was almost certainly a net cost to Australia.

    It’s sometimes argued that there is a longer-tem positive effect on tourism. Well, there’s lots of boosterism in that industry. As a government economic policy adviser in the 1990s, I was assured by relevant departments and the industry that international tourism numbers would be well over 10 million by 2000 and would climb rapidly thereafter. Many years on, we’re up to about 7 million, as before visiting family and friends continues to be the dominant category.

    Standard time in Australia is 10 hours ahead of GMT on the East Coast, 8 in Perth, we have four time zones in summer. How would game times be for countries where most fans are? What was it like for the UK when the WC was in Japan-SK?

    As for the issue of stadium use by other codes, that is non-trivial. There can be crowds of over 80,000 for AFL games. Suncorp can fill its 52,000 seats for NRL. The other codes would not easily move to make room for the minor sport of soccer, particularly if they thought it could become a serious competitor (although there seems no chance of that at present). Its unlikely that a government would antagonise the many supporters of other codes when so few support ours.

    In addition, we have built up massive government debt from a grossly wasteful and unproductive response to the global financial crisis, have a hung parliament and serious problems with lack of infrastructure. The WC bid will not be a major concern for government even on the bread-and-circuses premise.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    Just to correct a couple of comments above. AFL is not Australia's most popular sport. It is big in Victoria, specifically Melbourne, but not that popular elsewhere. Similarly NRL is big only in NSW and Qld. The most popular sport in terms of armchair and terrace fans is NRL. However the most played sport is soccer, although netball fans will probably dispute that. In any event soccer is by far the fastest growing sport. And unlike NRL and AFL it is popular countrywide. Helped by the televising of EPL and other European leagues as well as the accompanying side show hype. My guess is more Australian kids could identify David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo than could identify Chris Judd and Gary Ablett.
    That being said, the A League is rubbish, poor quality, poorly attended and teams are stuggling to survive. It can't currenly compete with AFL or NRL so the season is timed to avoid a clash - it is more a summer than winter game here. But then soccer in the USA followed a similar pattern before Major League eventually etablished itself as a succesful product.
    AFL and NRL naturally feel threatened by the growth of soccer hence the foot stamping about the use of stadiums mentioned by posters above, in particular by the AFL about use of the MCG which must be a favourite to host the final. Anyway I digress because an understanding was reached between the codes before the bid was submitted. And if people really think about it they would see that the bid could not have been submitted unless that agreement had been secured.
    I think AFL are giving up five stadiums to the WC and keeping two so Victoria misses out on some WC games, which is great for me because I am in Sydney. I suppose it remains possible that a stadium will host a WC game and an AFL or NRL game in the same week. But it is more likely in my view that there will be a break in the NRL and possibly AFL seasons during the early stages of the WC. Australia is a very proud country and loves to show the world what it can do. The AFL will be under enormous pressure to present a united Australian front to the watching world.
    I would love to see the bid succeed and am pleased to see Matt's positive assessment but there are still some real issues:
    Geographical isolation and time difference. Australians love their sport but realistically can't be relied upon to fill the grounds for every match. Even if they did, they are not the world's loudest supporters of any sport even at international level. They wear the green and gold but generate little atmosphere. No singing, no chanting (apart from the mindless Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi), no bands. Will international spectators travel or will we see half empty stands with politely applauding neutrals dotted around.
    As for time difference a Sydney 12 noon kick off is 8 am Mumbai, 3am London, 10pm New York. Sydney 8pm is 4pm Mumbai, 11am London and 6am NY. The lucrative European and American TV audiences will be most affected. But who knows where we will be in 12 years time - Asia may well be the 'dominant' audience by then.
    Its expensive for fans. Obviously dependent on the exchange rate but even for Europeans and Yanks it is expensive to get here, expensive to get around and expensive to stay in hotels. And beer (pubs and bottlos) is currently even more expensive here than in London. People aren't going to come all this way just for the weekend. It will take oodles of cash.
    Weather - it is not always nice here and it will be the middle of winter - shorter days and cold nights, particularly in Vic. More of an issue for the effect on the carnival atmosphere than the games probably. A brisk southerly blowing straight off the Antarctic certainly puts a dampener on partying outdoors even in Sydney. The same was true of SA - any observations from there?
    Infrastructure - the stadiums will be 12 years older in 2022. I expect they can be upgraded. Of more concern is the creaking transport system. Australia is growing apace, Sydney is grinding to a halt, Melbourne too. The state government in NSW has no credible roads or transport policy. Public transport is not of European standards to put it politely. And unless desperately needed projects start soon, they will not be completed by 2022.
    Not sure why Matt thinks Australia still has ties to football's Oceania region. They have been competing in the Asia region since 2006. And therein lies the biggest obstacle to the bid. Who will Asia vote for? Australia had to withdraw its bid for the 2018 tournament because it did not have the backing of its own region. Maybe the quid pro quo will be backing for 2022. But I for one am not holding my breath.

  • Comment number 19.

    There are three negative issues with Australia, and wishing them away won't solve them:

    1. the time difference, which is worse even than in 2002;

    2. the preponderance of non-rectangular stadiums, which are very poor for e.g. soccer and rugby;

    3. the AFL/NRL issue, which is not just a question of stadiums: FIFA insists on no competing major sporting events for I think four weeks before, during, and two weeks after(?) the WC.

    I doubt if attendance would be an issue: Australians will watch anything. But my feeling is that it's clearly SK or Japan apart from the repetition issue - maybe they're regretting sharing it in 2002?

  • Comment number 20.

    @19. At 04:58am on 30 Sep 2010, AlwaysWatching wrote:

    I agree totally with the negartives you list but I don't agree that the attandance won't be a problem. Firstly, Aussies in general have little interest in football and secondly, with the remoteness of the country and expense of getting there (and travelling internally)I suspect the number of visiting fans will be much lower than at other WC's.

    16. At 01:40am on 30 Sep 2010, Faustino wrote:

    I agree with most of your well made points but not this:

    "In addition, we have built up massive government debt from a grossly wasteful and unproductive response to the global financial crisis..."

    Utter rubbish! Every "western" economy on the planet went the Keynesian economics route in the GFC. All ran up large debt in return for trying to save jobs and re-invigorate the economy by spreading money around.

    None had more success than Australia, who arguably never oficially went into recession as a result of government actions. Unemployment peaked at 7.9% and is back down to 5.2%. The budget will be back to surplus by 2012 and growth for next year is forecast at 3.5% (by the IMF). Thousands of jobs were saved through government spending.

    As I say, no other country can come close to that performance, so your assessment, in my view, is way off the mark!

  • Comment number 21.

    A quick point regarding #11. Mexico was not awarded the 1986 World Cup. The world cup was meant to be hosted by Colombia. However, after they fell even more behind schedule than the organising committee of the Delhi Commonwealth Games, and security concerns were raised by various FIFA members, Mexico agreed to step in, and largely keep it "within the region".

    I was in Australia last year, and as many of the people above have commented, the sporting pedigree in the country is fantastic and football is widely followed throughout the country, particularly amongst the youth. Their infrastructure is robust, although transportation does remain an area of slight concern in both Melbourne and Sydney, the cities receiving the largest volume of travellers.

    The time difference may be less of an issue. Asia and Africa are rapidly becoming an increasing source of TV revenue, and Europeans will accommodate matches shown at most times.

    However, although the Australians are avid sport watchers and gets it's fair share of backpackers from around Europe and the US, there just aren't going to be that many tourists willing to travel all the way to Australia to make the the atmosphere special, which is what the world cup is all about - the celebration of the world's most popular sporting past time. It will be expensive and massively time consuming, and financially less lucrative than a European or American World Cup would be.

    My vote for a number of reasons will go to Qatar.

    A world cup in Qatar will not just be a 'Qatari World Cup', but it will have the support of the entire Middle-East region. Qatar is close enough to travel from Bahrain, KSA, UAE, Kuwait and Oman.
    All these countries are football crazy and have a large expat population who will not just embrace the idea of the world's best coming to their doorstep, but also look at it as business opportunity.
    Matt's point is valid - although the region has an obsessive interest in football, they are not known for their skills in it. But that is exactly the legacy that they would want to leave behind. To encourage a generation of middle east residents to pick up the sport. With their cash rich position they will be able to fund the sport with stadiums and invest into grass roots football.

    Thats not to say that there are not fundamental issues with their bid. If Israel qualify, then it will pose an significant political hurdle to be overcome. Additionally, Qatar being a small nation, find it a challenge to provide accommodation for the visiting contingent - which will be significant not just due to the magnitude of the occasion, but also due to its location being relatively close to European and Asian countries.

    Another favourable factor is that Qatar already has an established football league with a decent standard of football. Therefore a number of stadium will not need to be built specifically but be upgraded to the required international standard.

    Given Blatter's penchant for leaving a legacy and the amount of money that the Arabs will pump into their bid, I would have thought that they would be in the lead with the World Cup 2022 bid.

  • Comment number 22.

    Matt. Thanks. Qatar 2022 should read Doha 2022.

    Finally. Everybody keeps tip-toeing around the Qatar bid hoping that FIFA will not do an IOC on the bid i.e. rule it out.

    Qatar's bid, no, Doha's bid, including almost 10 stadia in one city (no a suburb 7km away is not a city, this would make Wembley, Wimbledon, etc. host cities) is not going to happen, not today, not in 2022. Thats ignoring all the other giant factors.

    FIFA's technical report will come close to essentially eliminating Qatar from the race, and if not, Valcke, Jordaan and co. will know FIFA do not want to run 10 venues in one city, especially not in Doha.

    Rio, Sydney, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Paris, London were or are only ever going to get 1 or 2 match venues, possibly 3 in the case of London, not 10!

    Take the World Cup, cut London in half, and then in half again, and then place all the World Cup venues in that part. Might as well use the land from the Dome to the Olympic Park for all the venues.

  • Comment number 23.

    Its still quite funny how some think that FIFA will come second to any other sport in the host country during the WC.

    If FIFA particularly wants a venue, whether in the bid book or not, it will get that venue.

    If it wants Twickenham, or Telstra Dome, it will get it. Why would it not want an 80,000 seat venue instead of Emirates, or an all-weather stadium, eliminating any viewing issues.

  • Comment number 24.

    I’ve been living in Australia for almost 3 years and the sport facilities are great but i do see some problems. The AFL season which has been mentioned previously is one.
    The second is the fact that a lot of the existing stadiums are oval and they are BIG. When watching a game of football at the MCG you are a long way from the pitch and the atmosphere can be lost. If they build 40000+ rectangular stadiums they won’t get used after the competition and will be wasted.
    The final point is the rotating of countries that FIFA seem to be doing nowadays. If Australia get 2022 does that mean China and India don’t get a chance to hold it for another 16-20 years as they all compete in Asia or do they commit to letting Oceania have another crack at holding on in 2042? Vanuatu or Fiji maybe? FIFA want a world cup in China or India purely for the population sizes, and i think giving it to Australia would jeopardise another Asian country hosting it in the near future which is a shame as Australia would do a great job.

  • Comment number 25.

    Rotating continents should i say...

  • Comment number 26.

    2. the preponderance of non-rectangular stadiums, which are very poor for e.g. soccer and rugby;

    I can only think of 2 major ones, SCG, MCG. The Sydney football stadium is rectangular, and the old Olypmpic stadium is fine for football. I've watched quite a few games of union and league there.

    Anyone who says Aussies won't go to games clearly wasn't here during the 2002 (Australia didn't even qualify) or 2006 world cup. Everywhere was packed.

    The quality of the A league is pretty average, but I don't think the standard of the domestic league is a factor in deciding a world cup host.

    Wordsofwisdom - "Utter rubbish!" - a little harsh, I think Faustino is referring to huge amounts of $ wasted on school buildings ($1m for a tuck shop), and other expensive and deadly mistakes. The stimulus package was obviously the right thing to do, but not all of it was good.

    #21 how about Germany 1974-2006. SK / Japan 2002-2022

  • Comment number 27.

    That just put the kibosh on my planned trip to Qatar... there are no WC's there ??? Wow... and they think the Delhi "Village" is bad !!! ;-)

  • Comment number 28.

    11. At 00:20am on 30 Sep 2010, Fat Bloke Down The Pub Said So wrote:
    "I remember in the 1970s MLS they had a line on the pitch, you couldn't shoot from outside this line."

    Not exactly. The 35 yard line did exist - but in the NASL (MLS' predecessor) it served as the offside line, as opposed to the halfway line...I think you might be getting mixed up with Subbuteo. :) The culture is different now in the US: there's a whole generation of fans who are tuned into the European and South American leagues and expect the authentic game on their doorstep, not the watered-down derivative that NASL, albeit fondly remembered by many, was.

  • Comment number 29.


    David. If Australia (now a member of Asian Football Federation) gets 2022 then China or any other Asian country would not be able to bid for the following two tournaments - so 2034 would be the first time they could try again.

    I have always thought Australia and USA would be awarded the 2022 and 2026 tournaments eventually, but I'm not sure in what order. If USA gets 2022 it would be 28 years between WCs in that country compared to 32 years for Germany (1974-2006) so not much difference and doesn't put their bid at a big disadvantage.

    Where the USA has a big advantage over Australia is:

    1. The time zones in the USA would be more suitable for the lucrative European TV markets.

    2. NFL stadiums are huge (70-90k), most of them new within the past 10 or 12 years and crucially also EMPTY during the summer. They also have the perfect rectangular shape for a WC tournament compared to Australia's oval stadiums for AFL and cricket which others here have mentioned. In fact a number of the NFL stadiums (eg Seattle's Qwest Field, New Jersey's Meadowlands and Lincoln Financial in Philadelphia) are already used for summer friendlies by the major European clubs on their preseason tours.

    3. Europe 1998, Asia 2002, Europe, 2006, Africa 2010, Sth America 2014, Europe 2018? - CONCACAF would be next in line with Asia soon after imo.

    Where FIFA might have an eye on giving it to Australia in 2022 is that it would enable China to put forward a bid for 2034. If its Australia 2022 the USA would very likely get 2026 (Europe and Asia cannot bid) before we see Europe again in 2030 (give it to Russia then please, not 2018) and China 2034.

  • Comment number 30.

    I too am fearful of the 2018 bid going to Russia, 2022 going to Qatar etc. Now that we've had South Africa (excellent hosts, who can't be blamed for the tawdry football on display) does this now mean that every WC must break new ground simply so that Blatter can strut his political feathers? There is a case for innovation in WC venues, but not at every tournament. My perspective is that however crucial the role of the host country, there are significant benefits to having the football itself as the main talking point of the build up. I don't believe this would be the case if either Russia or Qatar were successful in their bids. We can offer stadia, fans, infrastructure (this is arguably the only area that would need exceptionally significant work prior to the WC) and, most importantly, experience within the key authorities at managing football crowds and major sporting events.

    There is certainly room for trailblazing with the host countries, but maybe every few WCs.

    The Qatar bid is surely doomed to fail. There must surely be an unwritten rule about minimum population of a country for hosting a WC. The bottom line is that the stadia, infrastructure must serve a purpose subsequent to the WC. I don't see how that can happen in a country with a smaller population than Birmingham. One assumes that this would simply be a springboard for tourism etc. in Qatar and the staging of future international sporting events, but I see this as a gamble too far. Regardles of whether the economy there is strong enough to allow the facilities to go unused, it would be irresponsible. There are also significant environmental concerns. Air-conditioning entire stadia! And if the air-con fails, are players expected to play and train in 40-degree heat. We want a decent standard of football. Finally, we can hardly deem the middle-east to be stable at present. Although Qatar is not currently a country of great concern, though the foreign office has provided warnings to visitors re militant branches of Islam, it sadly seems a bit unrealistic to be basing a decision on the stability of the region in 12 years time.

    Australia is surely a good choice. Right season down there, great stadia, sports mad etc. etc. and a track record in hosting international events.

  • Comment number 31.

    5. At 10:53pm on 29 Sep 2010, Jack wrote:

    Australia could be a good shout but I think the time difference will be a big stumbling block.
    Not sure why Jack (and others) get this as a problem ........ was Korea/Japan a life-threatening situation for you?

    Soeul, Tokyo both UK +9

    Perth +8, Canberra/Melbourne/Sydney +10 ......... where's the big problem??

  • Comment number 32.

    God help Qatar if it is selected and the likes of Brazil and Sweden get to the finals!

    (Think about it. Not all fans are well-dressed men...)

  • Comment number 33.

    Personally, I would like to see England get 2018. I feel their bid in terms of infrastructure, local support, etc etc has to be better than Russia. I would try find some way to afford to travel to UK for the WC, but would not even contemplate trying if it were in Russia. Also, having waited since 1966 for another opportunity, I think their time has come. I am, however, of the opinion that Blatter will favour Russia for the sake of his own ego.

    2022 is the more interesting prospect.

    Qatar can be safely ruled out, I feel. Far too small, in population and physical dimensions, and way too hot. Japan & South Korea had it too recently.

    As much as us South Africans are ot supposed to be overly fond of the Aussies, I would love to see them get it.

    The ajor problems I see are the distances between cities (makes travel difficult and expensive) and the distance from the rest of the world - again makes travel expensive.

    To a fairly large etent we had the same issue here in South Africa (a long way for the rest of the world to travel) but we had an advantage over Australia - not only are we closer to everywhere else than they are, our exchange rate made it a bit less expensive for visitors once they got here. Whether they brought Pinds, Euros, US$ or there Aussie $ they would have gotten a lot more SA Rands for their money.

    I believe the locals will seriously support the games, and generate a great atmosphere. They will also get a fairly decent turnout from NZ, which is "right next door" in a manner of speaking. I met a huge number of Australian and New Zealand fans here in SA during our WC.

    As for the stadiums, and the clash with Australian Football, I have no boubt that any clashes, and issues regarding use of stadia, would have been sorted out before they submitted their bid. The Australians are more than capable of organising and running a great WC.

    Someone asked about the issue of winter weather, and what we experienced here in SA.

    Well, for one thing, the timing of the games would be different over there. Here the weather was pretty great during the day, but it did get rather chilly at night in the stadiums and fan parks. Did not dampen enthusiasm in any way though !!

    Remember, in South Africa the games were 4pm & 8:30pm LOCAL TIME.

    Due to requirements for TV audiences I am sure that the games would be at a much earlier LOCAL TIME in Australia, and thus I don't see cold weather as being a major issue, while being in winter you will not have the oppressive summer heat either.

    The TV audience issue is the biggest drawback, due to the time differences. FIFA are keen to always set new records in terms of TV audiences, as this is where the major revenue stream is, and I have no idea how the time differences will impact on this.

    2010 was "Africa's Turn", and I would love to see 2022 be "Oceanas Turn" or "Australasia Turn", or whatever you would like to term it.

    However, I think USA would be the favourites, simply from a money perspective, despite the fact that they had the WC as recently as 1994.

    When they had the WC in 1994 their MSL was nothing compared to what it is now. Yes, hey have the same "issues" in long distance local travel as Australa, but their routes are better serviced, and I would imagine cheaper. They have THE track record in organising, MARKETING, hosting and SUPPORTING major events, and I am sure that financially the USA would be the best option for FIFA.

    I think money will be the factor that swings the WC in favour of the USA, at least in FIFA's viewpoint.

    Note to all my mates in the UK ..... I am hoping that you guys get 2018, so get ready for me to do some couch surfing please !!!

  • Comment number 34.

    #28 Thanks, I think you're right, it was Subbuteo! You must be an Everton fan.

  • Comment number 35.

    Australia would be a good World Cup no doubt and I'd be happy to see it there. It is too soon for it to go back to Japan/Korea, though they definitely proved that they can host a fantastic World Cup, and I do not doubt that they will get another crack at it in the future. The USA would be an interesting one. I enjoy American sport and the attitude Americans have when it comes to sport, the coverage they provide is first class. It appeared that they took to the game during this World Cup, and Landon Donovan is now a huge name over there. With more big names going over to the US (Thierry Henry making the move to New York) giving them another chance to host the World Cup might be what is needed to really tap into the American market.

  • Comment number 36.

    i have some considerations for you all to ponder over...! 1. Australia would be a great venue for the world cup however, with the financial situation at present can people from Europe, and others afford the expensive flight tickets down there? an earlier "commenter" was right by suggesting that travelling supporters will have to make significant journeys to and from each game. Therefore, surely they should build more stadiums closer together to compensate for all this travelling? 2. Having a WC in a hot part of the world like Qatar seems stupid as the temperatures can get up to 40 degrees! I believe that i watched a programme on the BBC that said that the Iraq national side TRAINED in the middle of the night! so therefore would all the WC games over there be played at late at night or early morning? If this was the case then the players (mainly english) would have another reason for not playing well! 3. Now i would not mind seeing a WC in russia because even though they do have hot summers, it can obviously be incredidbly cold, therefore the englinsh team would LOVE IT!

  • Comment number 37.

    Fantastic blog Matt..great arguements and many excellent responses. Whilst most people have mentioned commonly held logistical factors influencing hosts' choice - such as tournament rotation, how long since countries last held it, infrastructure, TV time differences and potential advertising audiences, weather, stadia etc.....I think it's much much more cut and dried than that.

    Reflecting your initial statement regarding England pulling out of 2022 bidding many say to support the U.S. bid for that year and gain their vote in return for 2018 - it proves the decision's purely down to politics. Who can grease each others palms and offer the best trade-offs for votes. It's probably arranged years in advance at the Bilderberg meetings truth be known. Sadly such decisions will never be so transparent to the public. A clear breakdown of voting blocks and reasons behind likely allegiances would be appreciated don't you agree?

  • Comment number 38.

    All this talk of 2022, 2026, 2030 and 2034 is making me feel old - and surely the most important questions to consider by 2034 are:

    a) Will David Beckham have retired and given up on getting that elusive record breaking cap?

    b) Will Liverpool still be a state owned football club?

    c) and will Big Sam have proved us all wrong and gone on to be the most successful manger ever by winning league and European cups for Madrid, Milan, Barcelona and Inter?

  • Comment number 39.

    i think we all know that when sepp blatter is in charge then England will not get the world cup!

  • Comment number 40.

    Could go either way between the USA and Australia. Having lived Down Underr, I'd love the Aussies to get it, but also would love going to another US world Cup. Have to comment on the post by texasranger, who said the US fans wanted to change rules and didn't have an interest in the games, only the results- and then when the US went out, games weren't shown and interest dwindled in the US. Dunno where he was, but this was the most watched World Cup I've experienced in the US (watching since 1978)- we had very good sized crowds for the morning kick offs at our pub- yes, obviously more with games involving the USA, but even after they were knocked out, we had groups coming in to watch- wasn't packed, but good crowds, and very passionate about the game.

    As for changing the ruiles, what I remember is that there were a couple of howlers called against the US and a lot of people commenting on how poor the officials were- but nothing about the rules needing changing.

    From what I saw of coverage around the country, my experience was not unique- lots of folks were taking an active interest in the football, even after the USA was knocked out.

    Somebody has mentioned already- FIFA would be salivating at the potential ticket sales in the USA- did a fantastic job in 1994, and would have even bigger, better stadia for 2022.

  • Comment number 41.

    18. At 02:49am on 30 Sep 2010, John_Stone wrote:
    Just to correct a couple of comments above. AFL is not Australia's most popular sport. It is big in Victoria, specifically Melbourne, but not that popular elsewhere.


    Take it you've never been to South Australia then, John? Or Western Australia? Or Northern Territory? Aussie Rules is the biggest sport in the country and by 2022 there will be new AFL franchises in Western Sydney and the Gold Coast.

    The AFL is very canny in its approach - from refusing to give up Etihad Stadium for a World Cup to its heavy susidising of AusKick (Sunday morning kids).

    Look at this weekend - the first Melbourne derby in the A-League, along with a number of other sports events - have had to be cancelled because of the AFL grand final replay. Even the NRL (rugby league) is a distant second in terms of attendance.

    Compare the AFL to the FFA, which if its running of the A-League is anything to go by it could not handle a World Cup. Australian football (soccer) could be in a lot of trouble if they don't act very quickly - something that's hardly attractive to FIFA.

    Also, he head of Asian football has said he will support Qatar, so Australia doesn't yet have the support of the head honcho of their own federation.

    I'm not saying Australia should not get the World Cup. But the picture is nowhere near as rosy as it may look from outside.

  • Comment number 42.

    All these mentions of Gary Ablett and I found myself wondering if the Liverpool defender of the 1990s had made his way to Australia and somehow reinvented himself as an Aussie Rules player in the twilight of his career ...

  • Comment number 43.

    Having worked and lived in Qatar from 2003 to 2009, I know first hand they they are not ready to hold a World Cup. The organisation of the 2006 Aisa Games was a shambles, with incomplete infrastructure and apart from the sell out opening ceremony, the average crowd at the athletics would have been less than 5,000 per day.

    I am an Australian, I would love to see the World Cup go to Australia, but being a football fan, I have a huge problem with stadiums to watch the game. The current largest stadiums such as Adelaide Oval, MCG, Subiaco, Adelaide Oval, Docklands are all ovals designed for AFL or/and cricket.

    I hate going to watch a game of football only to find myself in a front row seat and still manage to be 50 metres away from the action! !

    Unless they are going to construct specific built stadiums for football, then I don't think they are ready to host the World Cup.

  • Comment number 44.

    England for 2018.
    Australia for 2022.

    Its crucial the US doesn't get it. I don't want to ever see a world cup hosted in that country again. 1994 was a complete bore, summarised well in the final.

  • Comment number 45.

    Its imperative that if USA win it they must guarantee to invest in some Diana Ross penalty taking

  • Comment number 46.

    I say England 2018, Australia 2022 then back to Europe, Blatter can go phuq himself, this idea of taking the world cup to each continent in turn is ridiculous, it should be portioned out depending on how many teams from each continent play at the world cup - i.e. Europe contribute half the teams (most of the money) so should have half the World cups staged there.

    I also think that nations should only be able to host the world cup if they have qualified for 1 of the last 2 held - so a no to Qatar.

  • Comment number 47.

    "The Middle East clearly needs to diversify its economy, and football in the region should be encouraged, ......"

    I am an englishmen living and working in Qatar. I can assure you they are very passionate about football here. The stadiums aren't actually that bad. Yes i agree they do need air conditioning but they have plenty of time to impliment those plans. They are planning to build a metro line and if this is complete will serve fans very well.
    No doubt about it, they need to relax the laws, eg you can only get memberships to bars if you have a residents permit, but i am sure they will be relaxed.

    All in all, if they complete what they set out to complete and if they are sucessful, a world cup in qatar will be amazing. The middle east dont do things by halves, they must be the best and this will be no exception.

    As they say over here, if Qatar wins the world cup bid, Expect Amazing!!

  • Comment number 48.

    The only serious contenders for 2018 WC are England, Russia and Spain/ Portugal but I think it will go to Russia.

    For 2022 only Australia and the USA can seriously host it. At the end it will go to Australia.

  • Comment number 49.

    Ideally then we are thinking...

    18 England
    22 Australia
    26 USA
    30 Russia
    34 China

    then maybe...

    Argentina, Spain/Portugal, Japan or S.Korea, Mexico, Egypt or another African nation. That would keep all happy.

    I tbh will not care one little bit who gets 2022 as long as England get it is 2018 (52 years since we last held it) If USA should get it in 2022 they can count them selves very lucky to get it again so quickly!

  • Comment number 50.

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

  • Comment number 51.

    I have another "C" word for you, Matt - China.
    The week before the FIFA Inspection Committee started its jaunt round all the bidding countries, China's Sports Minister said, although the bidding for 2026 was not yet open, his country was likely to bid for the World Cup in that year. Nice timing! FIFA, and Blatter especially, would love to hold it there - for a variety of reasons. So, under their own rules, as no continent can hold successive World Cups, 2022 will inevitably go to the USA. 2018 is too close to call for me but I have a feeling Blatter's personal antipathy towards England will see it go to Russia.
    As for Qatar? Well, I've lived and worked here for 6 years and all I can say is: "You cannot be serious!" Again, a variety of reasons but if I listed them, I'd probably be in breach of your House Rules!

  • Comment number 52.

    I've read the comments and it's all pretty interesting. I'll start off by saying that I'm a 17 year old in Melbourne, Australia. I'm a referee and also a player, so I know about all the local clubs. The one problem won't be attendances. If you've seen the amount of people who watch something as juniors in Australia, you know it's not a problem. Even though people said that some games, say Ghana vs Paraguay, might have empty seats. There are loads and loads of football fans who would be willing to see any game. I'd go.

    AFL-wise. Every third Melbournian is really irritated by the AFL, particularly AFL boss Andrew Demitriou's ignorance towards the World Cup. It's okay mate, it will only bring loads of revenue and exposure for this great nation of ours. I can't see why the AFL can hold off for just ONE season. I love AFL, but it's been going on for around 70 off years now so they can take one year off. I have to applaud the NRL and it's ability to move around the World Cup. I don't like them Sydney-folk, but they've done something right there.

    The reason why the A-League doesn't have capacity crowds is simply becuase of the quality. Yes I'm a season member for Melbourne Victory, but it's nly because I support all things Melbourne. I don't go to it for the football, it's only for the passion. I know many football fans who don't go watch A-League but they get up at midnight to watch EPL every Saturday night.

    With the stadiums, don't worry about the crowds or facilities. The food at grounds are pretty bad though, it's 4 quid for a pie and a fiver for a beer. But our cuisine outside the stadiums are fantastic. And I think some of the stadiums are made so the first tier can be pushed into a rectangle around the ground. It's a great atmosphere when they do this.

    I'd love it to come to Australia. I will be 29 then. My dream would be to become a top referee. Will I be the referee, from the Western suburbs, who kicks off the FIFA world cup 2010? I hope so. What a story that would be.

  • Comment number 53.

    How the USA could get the World Cup twice in less than 30 years, while England has only hosted it once is beyond me. Australia is the best place for 2022, sports-mad, world class restuarants, hospitality etc. The A-league has struggled with attendances but I can't see that affecting the World Cup, the A-league is still a developing league in a country dominated by AFL and Rugby League.
    AFL won't get in the way (hopefully), there will just be limited games in Melbourne because the AFL isn't willing to give up both major stadiums for June/July.

  • Comment number 54.

    And it only took until #3 for the 'Sepp Blatter/Michel Platini hate the English' comment to come out..must be a new record on these blogs!

    If the 'new horizons' arguement wins out then 2018 will go to Russia (and deservedly so as they are a big and rapidly expanding footballing nation) and 2022 will go to Aus. The middle-east will be avoided for now for obvious political reasons.

    On 2018 the interesting issue is whether England and the USA have done a 'backroom deal' to offer mutual support. What do you think Matt? After all we live in a country where many argue for transparency in decisions where public money is involved so it is a relevant issue. After all the USA will be backed by their regional federation and nothing happens without Jack Warner's say so.

  • Comment number 55.

    Well I think Australia would be a great choice. Yes there are flight issues but in the early rounds you base the groups in areas and then travel more for the rounds. The trip to Western Australia is the really long one but OK.

    Timezones could be an issue but then again the USA has four as well, five if you count Alaska.

    also somebody quoted the timezones as +8 Perth to +10 East Coast. Actually they are the officials differences but never are that in reality due to differing daylight saving periods. So in the (Northern Hemisphere) Summer. Perth is +7 hours from BST, +6 from CEST and +9 (+10) on the East coast.

    So evening kick-offs in Aus would be afternoon games in the UK/Europe. Afternoon games could be early morning here.

    Yes that might be a bit of an issue BUT it is the WORLD cup so we should allow the whole world to host not just take part. Round Stadia is a bit of an issue but the TV audience is far bigger than the live one so not a huge issue. I think support would be there, I think there are reasonable stadi. AFL would have to accommodate, but it is once in a generation and even the Gaelic football association capitulated in Ireland whilst Lansdowne Road is being rebuilt.

    Also football is really a winter game so to have a World cup played in winter conditions would be good (not that an Australian winter is anything like ours !!

    Finally I always thought rotation was wrong and it should have been alternation. One world cup in Europe (we are still the biggest market) and then one somewhere else, Europe, somewhere else. Forcing it into a particular somewhere else area is wrong. So England followed by Australia would be great. The Americans have infrastructure and money but don't do good global events mainly because they don't believe anything exists beyond their shoree.
    Find attached the DCS Documentum and Reporting Installation Guide for baseline review:

  • Comment number 56.

    My congratulations on one of the funniest literary allusions to popular culture I have ever come across. I laughed into tears -- and even clicked on the link and bookmarked the webpage for the next time I go on a picnic.

  • Comment number 57.

    I like the idea of Australia hosting it...but having grown up sitting in English football stadiums... look at this panoramic of the MCG.

  • Comment number 58.

    I think in the end the US will probably win, if only because they won't have a problem with stadiums (Australia is having problems with the AFL and the NRL when it comes to access because the World Cup would be right in the middle of their seasons- in the US it would be before the NFL season starts, so the stadiums will be clear). And could you imagine 100,000 people in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas for the final?

  • Comment number 59.

  • Comment number 60.

    Totally agree with you mate! The US has to be a firm favourite for obvious reasons.

    ps. raise you the new Meadowlands stadium for one of the semis...

  • Comment number 61.

    Blatter recognises that there needs to be a balance between:

    - seeking new grounds (USA, Japan/Korea, Africa), and
    - staying at home (traditional football nations in Europe and S America).

    One look at the recent World Cup host nation track will prove this.

    Blatter also needs to ensure that one of these two World Cups needs to be massive commercial success. That will either come in Europe or USA, and that is why the two are being bid for at the same time.

    Which is why i think Russia 2018, Australia 2022, China 2026 would be too risky for FIFA. Either England/Spain gets 2018 and Australia gets 2022, or Russia gets 2018 and USA gets 2022.

    I hope it is the former combination.

  • Comment number 62.

    Australia for 2022! Although what about kick-off times? They'd be in the middle of the night here!

  • Comment number 63.

    Great article Matt, very fair.

    For all those considering the aussie world cup bid, we have one rectangular stadium in melbourne ( and two oval grounds that would be used. likewise sydney, perth has a dedicated stadium but its tiny, similar deal with brisbane, adelaide and north queensland.

    Not gonna be devastated not to get it but hey here's hoping!

  • Comment number 64.

    Australia would be great. It's a big country, but that can be positive as well as negative. It means there'll be diversity in the locations. OK, it will also mean additional travel, but that's not a killer for the bid. The main things are that it has plenty of established stadia, it has a great sporting tradition and a decent standard side. It has also not hosted a football World Cup before, whereas Japan and South Korea did so recently, in 2002, while the USA also hosted one fairly recently in 1994. It is a new location and that is definitely a big plus.

    The Qatar bid is interesting, but has a number of difficulties, not least the fact that Qatar's football team have never qualified for a World Cup before. The hosts should realistically have to be able to put on a good show - no point them going out having not gained a point.

    I think Australia should get it in 2022. England have a good case for hosting it in 2018; they haven't hosted since 1966 and FIFA tend to favour one host rather than joint bids, which leaves out Spain and Portugal. The Russian bid would be my favourite though, as again, they have never hosted it before, and have a number of good stadia, their domestic league is also improving with Zenit winning the UEFA Cup a couple of years back and decent Champions' League showings by its clubs.

    The World Cup definitely needs to go to different countries in order to keep the sport's global popularity high and to advance FIFA's credentials for fairness and commitment to spreading the competition around. For me, it isn't so important that the World Cup goes to a different continent every time, but it should go to different countries where possible. Countries should not host twice within 30 years. If necessary to ensure diversity of hosts, it would be better in my opinion to relax the criteria, particulary regarding size of stadia, as we often do not get full stadia at World Cup matches. The fact that Spain and Portugal, two excellent footballing nations with very good stadia, economies and infrastructure, are having to club together to host shows that perhaps the criteria could be relaxed.

    Ideally, the World Cup should go to all continents - but in the case of Africa, for instance, there is only one country that can really deal with the challenge of hosting it, and South Africa have just done so. Also in Asia a limited number of countries are able to host it (Japan, South Korea, China and perhaps in future India - although India have serious problems with regard to long-term sutainability of the project and the interest in the game domestically, not to mention their national side's alarmingly poor standing in the FIFA rankings). One of the Middle Eastern countries will definitely host a World Cup in future, but there probably better options than Qatar in that part of the world. South America and North America are also limited to 2 or 3 countries that could host it, even with the best wills in the world. Europe contains at least 6 or 7 countries that could host a World Cup in their own right, and others that could do so in a joint bid.

  • Comment number 65.

    I vote for an Antarctican World Cup!

  • Comment number 66.

    Just like to clear up a few points
    The Australian bid was presented with full support from both major political parties and the other major codes.These codes,namely the AFL and NRL will not be playing at any of the proposed stadia for the duration of the WC and the prescribed 4 week period prior.The bid in its present state which is the bare minimum we can expect will include 2 Olympic stadiums which both had crowds of over 104,000 to the Olympic Football final in 1956 and 2000.The final make up will be 6 rectangular stadiums,2 stadiums with swinging stands for an easy rectangular config,1 stadium with temporary rectangular configuration and 1 oval(the iconic MCG which is one of the sporting wonders of the world and has been submitted with a reduced capacity to technically comply)
    As many would know we travelled in large numbers to the last few world cups-35,000 to the magnificent South Africa and 70,000 left Australian shores for an amazing Germany in 2006 with another 25,000 joining our army from the UK and the rest of Europe.Our official Australian allocation for Germany took place in December 2005 and was on a first in first served basis.There were between 2700 and 3600 tickets available to the 3 group games.In the first 8 minutes 96,000 unique requests for tickets were received to pay 6 months in advance and travel to the other side of the world which is incredible.
    An Australasian World Cup in 2022 will smash the alltime global viewing audience.Broadcasting to a predicted Asian population market of 4.688 billion in primetime and to all of Europe and the UK in daylight-54 matches after 11am.We offer FIFA and its sponsors a magnificent Asian legacy at the very earliest time and an extra opportunity for China to qualify some 1460 days earlier than a potential and highly speculative Chinese 2026 bid.Of course it also addresses Oceania in its only realistic solution
    Football in Australia in played by 1.2 million people-easily the highest of any code in the nation.Where we struggle is with media coverage as broadcasters with vested interests in the major codes limits this.Crowds domestically have been down this year so far while the AFL and NRL are still running.A WC here in 2022 would provide the sport a huge lift with a 12 year build up it will be far easier to get that media attention and secure more lucrative advertising.Their is no doubt the the standard in the A League has continued to rise but we seem to be going through a similar period to what the MLS,and J League did before us.
    Finally a few words about our competitors.
    There isn't much to say for Japan and Korea would are basically making up numbers with unrealistic expectations of a further hosting so soon.

    Qatar's bid fails on many counts.Most importantly it fails to comply to FIFA's own hosting recommendations and is technically illegal.It is essentially a single city bid which lacks diversity and is expected to be dumped after the October Ex-Co meeting.It seeks to devalue the World Cup and prove that money and corruption is king,overshadowing the following
    -a local population of 1.6 million which contains just 200,000 Qatari's according to the UN,with 83% of the population being migrant workers
    -zero travelling fan culture
    -extremely low attendances to crucial WCQ's with free entry(31,000 total for the 4 matches in 2010 final phase which included large numbers from Japan,Australia and Bahrain)-
    -an unsustainable stadium plan which will form the largest white elephant park in the world
    -40 degrees plus
    -zero things to do except 4wd in sand
    -unproven cooling technology
    -a hostile region with neighbours such as Iran and Saudi Arabia
    -a nation that supports Iran's nuclear program and has a significant military alliance with them
    -ignoring most of Asia(3.6 billion) with matches at 3am
    -a pledge to bring in 100,000 people because they already know that crowds will be low
    -trouble with FIFA sponsors ,ie alcohol,being advertised
    -inability to secure airspace

    We all know that the USA has a wonderful collection of gridiron stadiums that will break overall attendance records and be very profitable for the LOC,but we also know that they are the only bidder of the current 9 with the luxury that they will definitely host one of the next 3 WC's after Brazil simply because of the rotation policy.
    On the other hand,this is Australia's one and only chance,because in 8 years we simply won't be able to compete with China and in 2038 it will be India's turn.
    FIFA-please give us the opportunity to delight you

  • Comment number 67.


    Liked your comments on the rotation of WC's but I would query that bodies such as FIFA and UEFA are 'fair' in their selection criteria for hosting tournaments.

    'Fairness' it seems with FIFA (and UEFA) only seems to mean at the moment that bigger countries put themselves forward because of the need to have all the stadia in either one or two countries. It largely means that the same old 'usual suspects' will be involved in future European bids. I would argue though that a better way to structure European bids (where stadia, transport and accommodation and facilties are largely in place anyway and certainly across much of the western half of the region) would be to open the bidding process for the WC Final only and then share the group games around interested neighbouring nations. This at least potentially opens up the possibility of WC games in smaller countries such as Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Belguim and spreading the economic benefits of the tournament around.

  • Comment number 68.

    I think for England to be overlooked again would be grossly unfair.

    Obviously I'm speaking from a biased (English) perspective but given the stadiums, the history, the infrastructure... would you rather see a match played at St James' Park, Newcastle or Olimp 2, Rostov-on-Don?(

    Since '66, France, Spain, Germany (twice) and Italy have hosted the World Cup, surely time for it to come back to the other large European footballing power? Also from FIFA's pov wouldn't a world cup in England would be more marketable (and therefore profitable) than Russia? Although Russia has progessed dramatically from the days of the iron curtain I doubt that it has many attractions for the tourist other than Moscow & St Petersburg.

    What may count against England is the Olympics & Rugby Union WC being held here in the same decade (although Sochi in Russia hosts the Winter Olympics in 2014) and the aforementioned ego of Blatter.

    In summary, I think we could put on a better show that would capture the public's imagination more than the Russians, at least for now.

    On a side note, I think a World Cup in Australia would be fantastic too, but perhaps the rest of the world would be a bit frustrated at two consecutive WC's in English-speaking countries with similar cultures and ethnicity? I'm sure FIFA would take this into consideration as they're deciding on both venues at the same time.

  • Comment number 69.

    " Australia ticks a lot of boxes. Infrastructure, track record, sporting tradition, nice weather, decent food, it's hard to pick holes"

    I can pick you a big hole. Almost nobody here in Australia is interested in soccer as they insist on calling it. I will be impressed if the A-League makes it through the next couple of years will all its teams still intact. Take Melbourne Victory out of the equation and you are left with a league who's average attendances would be on a par with Division Two.
    People have mentioned the distance to Australia from almost anywhere else in the world but not many have mentioned the distances involved in travelling within Australia itself. The country is huge and the only way to travel between the cities in a reasonable time would be by air.

  • Comment number 70.

    Finally! an analysis that doesn't get caught up in all the spin that the bids are putting out in the media.

    75% of the world population is in Asia. So when we talk about distances, we have to talk about distances to whom...!

  • Comment number 71.


    We talk about distances to the area of the world that is football's heartland and to the people who would pay the money to the TV companies who pour money into the World Cup... we are talking EUROPE.

    I'm actually in Australia so would love to see it here, but frankly the place doesn't deserve it. Football here is a minor league sport. There is a real possibility that it wouldn't even have a league in 2022. I'm in Australia's 9th largest city and it doesn't even have a league side.

  • Comment number 72.

    usalion #40.

    glad you managed to read my post before they pulled it off (I have no idea why they did that, must've been my comment about aussie-rules ??).

    Anyway, I was offshore in the GoM fighting an oil spill during the WC and watching the matches on ESPN2 and FSC, which between them broadcast every match .... until the good-ol-usofa were (thankfully) knocked out, after that we only got one game televised per day. I'm sure your pub had cable TV and were able to pick up the other games but regular US TV channels cut back after the US were out.

    Anyway the point is that they dont understand the game and dont deserve to host another WC.

    I fully agree with the numerous posts that suggest a rotation of Europe-Somewhereelse-Europe-somewhereelse (as it used to be in pre-blatter days), with perhaps a slight variation that the fairest rotation would be :

    Europe - South America - Europe - Rest of the World - etc.

  • Comment number 73.

    Post #67 (Rob04)

    Note that I only said that moving the World Cup around to a wider variety of countries would advance FIFA's 'fairness' credentials, not that those credentials were flawless at present. ;)

    Your idea that smaller countries could play a part in hosting by giving surrounding countries a chance to host games at lower levels than the final is interesting and has some merit. Imagine the British Isles World Cup in 2018 with the final at Wembley, and quarter-finals at Old Trafford, Hampden Park, Lansdowne Road and the Millenium Stadium. It is, however, likely to be a non-starter on the basis that one country traditionally hosts and gets a place in the finals automatically, and FIFA are unlikely to allow three or four countries to host and get a place in the finals each. Unless the 'auxiliary' countries, as you might call them, could somehow get a place in the finals as well, I doubt they would want to bear the burden of hosting games, and people would understandably ask why it is fair that one of the host countries gets the place (presumably England in the above hypothetical example) while the others (Ireland, Scotland, Wales) get nothing.

  • Comment number 74.

    Its kinda interesting that the 2022 bid in Japan has absolutely zero public support. I think most Japanese people would rather see the money spent elsewhere (which was the main feeling of the failed Tokyo Olympics bid.) Its about time the National stadium got rebuilt in Shinjuku but there are hundred other things that could do with rebuilding.

    Plus we also have a problem with "tsuyu" - the rainy season, which normally hits around mid-to late June and early July, meaning it just pelts it down for hours on end. I don't see UEFA wanting to end its season early like it did in 2002. The only other option would be to push it into August and then you are heading into typhoon season.

    Perhaps you should get on the ground and see what 'actual' logistic challenges exist with the Japan bid. It would host a safe, friendly tournament but would do nothing to highlight the game globally across the world. This is what Fifa wants - the World Cup is basically its main marketing tool. I bet they are cursing that China simply can't get its house in order when it comes to organising football.

  • Comment number 75.

    There's some of the usual code vs code crap on here.
    Main points for Australia. AFL currently has 2 teams in Perth, 2 in Adelaide, 10 in Melb/Vic, and 1 each in NSW and QLD (although 2 new sides are being introduced over next 2 years into NSW and QLD). The AFL and Australian (rules) Football is number 1 in Vic, SA and WA. Tassie apparently doesn't count as the major footy codes continue to ignore it. It has a stronger hold on it's 'heartland' than the NRL does in NSW and QLD where RU and Soccer are strongest. Note for example, that in WA, the state league WAFL grand final drew about 25,000. 8.5 rounds into the A-League season and no crowd has come near to that.

    Soccer at the domestic professional level is struggling to consolidate itself and is played across summer. (same approach basketball took - i.e. avoiding going head to head with AFL or NRL).

    This means that June/July is non-core time for soccer. And is core time for AFL and NRL. A lot of people focussed purely on the AFL with respect to the WC bid - mainly because they have the muscle of super long term contracts around the MCG and Docklands stadia in Melb in particular. Stadia that are NOT Govt funded (in the main or at all). However, the NRL obviously was hardly happy to sign over full access and rejected the FFA's initial proposals.

    And so - the 'c' word here is 'compensation'. The AFL and NRL dug their heels in. The Fed Govt had to come on board (Kevin Rudd was a great 'ideas' man on grand scales.....alas, he left too much to the FFA and Frank Lowy), and an agreement was reached that provides for the AFL and NRL to NOT be forced to cease competition and to BE able to seek compensation. Just what the formula might be??? Can the FFA actually afford to 'host' the event??

    Note too - that in the main, Govts in all states are not super keen on building brand new 40-50K dedicated rectangular stadia. Ironically, because the AFL is the big attendance sport. Doing avg just sub 40,000, with venues in Adelaide and Perth desperately out of date and bulging at the seems (other than for Port Power matches). So - much of the capacity to financially justify the spend to host 4 weeks of matches over a single month somewhere 12 years ahead - - is stuff all to do with soccer and much more to do with the crowd pulling power of the real attendance sports in Australia.

    The clear example of the state of play is that in Melbourne, the State Govt build a 100% state funded $267.5 million dedicated rectangle stadium (AAMI park). Capacity 31,000 but with foundations to go to 50,000. Perfect 2nd venue to the MCG and would allow the AFL to retain Docklands stadium. However, the FFA rejected AAMI park (apparently costs too much to remove the funky roof and extend to 50,000). This is a clear chance to leave a dedicated legacy for soccer in the middle of AFL heartland. And it was rejected. This actually was where the main WC bid war was faught. The FFA were determined to kick the AFL out of Docklands (a crazed plan, as Docklands stadium has an office annex that is the AFL's HQ.....they'd never hand over the keys!!). So, the main legacy soccer might gain would be at the training venue level?? Beyond that - - yeah, a great build up, then, event comes and goes. As with RU after the 2003 RUWC, where the game seemed on the crest of a wave.....well, it was, it's been in a trough ever since.

    The A-League might rebound - but, seems to have peaked after it's honeymoon period and is struggling to avg 9,000 and has declined in the big cities (Melb/Syd) even with success on the pitch. It's hard to work out except to suggest that the domestic 'football market' is firmly allocated. And that soccer for Australia will thrive via the Socceroos just as RU does via the Wallabies, but, domestically, it's a hard sell.

  • Comment number 76.

    Why should the AFL move over to accommodate the imperialism of FIFA? If it does, it risks elimination as the most popular sport in Australia and risks being marginalised by the huge multinational beast that is the rarely-questioned powerful soccer-football administrators.

    Soccerball is popular everywhere. But Australia (along with Ireland the USA) is one of the few places where our own indigenous football holds out against the McDonalds-esque blandness of having every country in the world following the same idiotic sport. Being different in this aspect is what makes us unique - we shouldn't even bid for what will be an insufferably dull, dull, dull World Cup and even worse, an affront to our cultural heritage. This is like asking the French to give up the French language and use English because "everybody speaks it".

    PS: If ever there was a reason to call dull-ball soccer, it's when it irritates Englanders.

  • Comment number 77.

    The deal has been done with the AFL,they are fully supportive of the bid and have signed and said to that effect months ago.
    The code war is a figment of your imagination,it really doesn't matter what the AFL do and or how successful they are,because this debate isn't about Gaelic football,American Football or AFL -its about the WC.
    Every time folks like both of you post it shows an insecurity about the future because otherwise there would be no need to comment.The other codes-chiefly the AFL,always cracked a bottle of champers when Australia didn't qualify for the WC and that is only fear that brings that type of response
    Football Federation Australia,(who's revenue is up more than 500% since the start of the A League 5 years ago)will have a defined path in another 2 months after the bid.We will either be hosting the Asian Cup in '15 ,Confed Cup in '21 and the WC in '22 or it will just be the Asian Cup.They will be able to focus far more on the domestic league,something that they have neglected of late with the focus on '22

  • Comment number 78.

    A lot of people are talking about time zone issues...i can tell you there are none at all, considering the Tv ratings for the Fifa world cup are greater in asia than that of europe. perth alone is located in the most populas time zone in the world, in a growing asian region its quite possible that an Australian world cup will have the largest tv ratings ever seen and will probably be hard to beat with world cups preeceding it, it may not be ideal for europeans but you guys will still all be watching anyway, Australia for 2022!

  • Comment number 79.

    Good Blog,

    I do not think they will give it to the US, as they did have it in 1994.
    The only reason that Mexico hosted 1986 is due to Columbia not being able to host and Mexico helped them out geographically.

    I watched the AFL final, they had over 100,000 spectators watching that game (For the first drawn game, and i suspect everyone will watch the replay tomorrow, so another 100,000 (i wonder if they replay again if that game is a draw too)).

    So with that said, i don't think the AFL will move over for the World Cup. That would mean building new stadium, which like some of them here in South Africa risk white elephant status.

    2018 would be the nearest London could get to the 50 year anniversary of hosting/winning. However I feel that Blatter will give this bid to Russia.

    2022 Australia would have plenty of time to build if required, if i were in control of the London Bid for 2018, I would still be bidding for 2022, if they were, like South Africa did for 2006 and then the successful 2010 bid, then only would they get their World Cup, if they don't it will be Australia, but with a lot of issues to be sorted regarding the local AFL games, which IMHO will not bow to a game that gets less support than theirs.

    It's still sunny here in South Africa...

    Butler Out.

    2022 - Russia will rebid

  • Comment number 80.

    Just another quickie...

    Why oh why, do they insist on calling it soccer. Its the most annoying word in sport. FIFA is FIFA not FISA. They should be fined for every utterance of the word. Football is Football. I dont see them running around in just socks.

    Rant finished.

  • Comment number 81.

    #80 soccer is simply used as a way to differentiate between the different codes of football, especially by those in Australia and USA where their own code of football is a completely different sport and far more popular. Remember that rugby union is also a code of football hence the RFU (Rugby Football Union).

    But we are guilty ourselves when two of the most popular football shows on TV are Soccer AM and Sky's Soccer Saturday with Jeff Stelling.

  • Comment number 82.

    @ 80. At 09:13am on 01 Oct 2010, The_Butler
    For an explanation of the origin of the word soccer try this:

    What interests me more is why American Football is so called when the foot plays so little part in the game. Why not call it American Handball??

  • Comment number 83.

    @76. At 05:40am on 01 Oct 2010, RangaKoo

    Coming from Ireland I am a big fan of Gaelic football. I also love rugby union but my number one passion has always been for football (that's the version known to 90% of the planet as football and as soccer by the other 10%.)

    However, I enjoy all these codes and have passionately supported teams in all. Since I moved to Australia I greatly enjoy AFL (support Fremantle) and love watching the Wallabies. I'm also fully behind the Socceroos.

    The point is, sport is about enjoymemt, competitiveness, passion and inclusiveness. I don't have much interest in rugby league but am happy to see the huge NRL following enjoying their sport.

    You seem to want to define divides between codes instead of recognising the commonality of purpose and how much fans of all codes have in common.

    "we shouldn't even bid for what will be an insufferably dull, dull, dull World Cup and even worse, an affront to our cultural heritage."

    An affront to Australia's cultural heritage? Absolute nonsense.

    As someone mentioned above, more people play football(soccer) at grass roots level in Australia than AFL. The same applies in the USA v American Football and I can tell you from first hand experience that football is, by a distance, the most popular sport in Ireland.

    But that doesn't in any way denigrade the other popular sports and, as I said, many many people support teams in all codes and are the better for it!

  • Comment number 84.

    Based on their performance in the Olympics, we know that Australia is capable of staging a brilliant Finals, plus they've never done so previously: how significant is that fact as far as FIFA are concerned, the taking-it-in-turns aspect ?

    Serious Football

  • Comment number 85.

    I've read most of the comments, and no-one seems to have mentioned that at the grand final in Melbourne on Saturday there were 100,000+ and there will be the same tomorrow for the replay.
    AFL is number 1 in Melbourne (and also Perth and Adelaide, unlike mentioned by some above) but ANY sport will be well attended, look at Melbourne's professional teams for AFL (7), A-League (2), Basketball (2), Rugby League (1), Super 15 (1), Netball (1) plus Australian Open tennis and F1 grand prix to see why it has been frequently voted world city of sport.

    I find it comical that many posters on here take issue with the svnt being so far away - from them!
    As already said, the time zone difference is no worse than Japan for Europeans but the key point is that there are billions of people in Asia (many increasingly wealthy) who might just benefit from the Aussie time zone!
    The same applies to flights for Asians or Europeans, Melbourne is 7-8 hours flight from HK or Singapore while London is approx 14 hours away from Singapore/HK.

  • Comment number 86.

    Sorry, iPhone self correction! 'svnt' should read 'tournament'!
    Also forgot to mention that all Aussie host cities are DIRECT international flights, whereas Newcastle, Plymouth and Bristol are not.

  • Comment number 87.

    As an Australian and passionate football fan I would love to see us host the World Cup in 2022 and believe we could put on a fantastic show. Some concerns are raised such as timezone issues, I think you could eat some cement and harden up for a month, us Aussies get up to watch every world cup at obscure hours of the morning and even the English Premier League too, surely we can have a month of our time? In regards to rival sporting codes, the AFL and NRL have both signed off on the bid and have already handed over use of stadiums during the world cup and the required time before it. We have many world class stadiums that conbined with our sports mad culture sees the AFL rank as the third highest attendnace in the world despite the vast population disparities in comparison to the EPl for example. While admittedly alot of our stadiums are not suited to the recatngle configuration many of them will be reconfigured an upgraded. Yes it will be pricy and there will be a lot of travel but it will be worth it experiencing our diverse culture and landscapes and cheering on your country, I would pay anything to accompish that.

    The positives is that this is virgin territory for FIFA, we have a history that suggests our capability of hosting top class sporting events such as Sydney 200, The 2006 Commonwealth Games and the Rugby World Cup. We have a sports mad population that will be eager to see what all the fuss is about, our transport system and organization is efficient, our infrastructure is strong and our country is a real tourist atraction. But for me the big point that could potentialy win FIFA over is the boost this would give to the games reputation, Australia has a passionate and dedicated football fan base but sadly we are a minority, the media overlooks us in a show of blatant bias and the rival codes which influence the media fear us, ready to pounce on the slightest slip up. The boost that football received after qualification for 2006 was unprecedented and drew alot of fear from the AFL but once the country sees the passion of our game and the talent its popularity will boom and the game will be able to establish itself as a serious competitor to AFL and Rugby. I look forward to seeing you all in 2022, showing you why our beautifull country deserves to host the pinnacle of football

  • Comment number 88.

    Looks like all or nothing for the FA. A bit of horse trading and all chips going onto 2018 (and only one spin of the wheel now that 2022 is withdrawn). Effectively it is 2018 or bust.

  • Comment number 89.


    Tbh I was looking for a line to hook a point onto and yours seemed ideal. Apologies if I took you out of context, it was deliberate!

    I do think that smaller countries just get ignored when we think of hosting tournaments. FIFA tend to prefer a one-model approach to tournaments (the one-country, big shiny new stadia approach) which there really is no necessity for in Europe any longer, and the WC can be brought to more countries (Scotland, Ireland, Greece, Albanis and the former YSlav states) that wouldn't otherwise get a chance. They all input to UEFA and FIFA as much as their bigger neighbours. By making the final the only competitive part of bids (the winner getting the automatic Qual spot) you would also take much of the backroom politics out of the process.

  • Comment number 90.

    As many have pointed out, the AFL problem is over 1 stadium the AFL have a share in Docklands/Etihad Stadium so won't give it up, that still leaves the 100,000 seat MCG though it's an oval shape. Perth is going to build a new 60,000 seater stadium for rectangle and oval sports, Adelaide Oval is being expanded right now, both stadiums can be used with AFL still being played at Subiaco & Football Park in those cities. Sydney will upgrade the Olympic Stadium to 90,000 people for the WC as to host the final and probable opening ceremony, Sydney is the big football city. It'll also have the 45,000 SFS & a new football ground of 40,000 in the Western city. Brisbane will have 50,000 Suncorp & Townsville an upgraded 40,000 seater. Canberra will upgrade to 40,000 as well. The legacy of new rectangular stadiums will be the winner for Aussie, Rugby is okay with the WC as it benefits long-term from the new stadiums, Rugby season is Mar-Oct, Football is Sept-Mar, they work well together. The 2015 Asian Cup will be a good test run which is only going to be played in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne & Brisbane. The 2020 Confederations Cup will fine-tune it all. Go England for 2018, Aussie for 2022 :-)

  • Comment number 91.

    A major hurdle which I'm surprised has not been mentioned yet is Australia's rugby league state of origin series. This is by far the biggest domestic sporting contest in the country and it happens to be played at the same time as the World Cup would be on.

    I can't imagine FIFA would be willing to have one of the world fiercest sporting rivalries on display in the middle of their own showpiece. The sight of Caxton St on Origin night in Brisbane is awe-inspiring and having thousands of journalists from around the world here to see it could only help to boost Rugby League in it's competition with Football.

  • Comment number 92.

    #91 "This is by far the biggest domestic sporting contest in the country",
    - can you back it up with any evidence, Melb, Perth & Adelaide would disagree. Also isn't it a 3 match series, easily moveable?

  • Comment number 93.

    #92 Each individual State of Origin game gets close to 3million TV viewers nationwide, as well as millions of viewers world-wide, sell-out crowds in brisbane, anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 in Sydney and similar hype for each of the 3 games to an NRL grand final. Each individual game is comparable in this regard to a Grand Final for any of Australia's largest codes.

    Although the grand final of both the AFL and Rugby League have historically been watched by more people in Australia than an Origin Game (but not by much), the vast majority of these spectators were neutral viewers watching because it is the finale to a domestic league. As a contest between 2 specific teams few games worldwide compare.

  • Comment number 94.

    its great the way that both ARL and AFL started whining about how the world cup will interfere with their plans, typical Aussie monopolized Luddite crony ism.

  • Comment number 95.

    it would be nice for Qatar to host it in 2022 simply because football as a sport has seen tremendous growth in the Arab world.

  • Comment number 96.

    @95 markojuok

    its really hard to imagine how that part of the world will be that far in the future, lots of instability, i can't see FIFA putting their eggs in such a fragile basket.

  • Comment number 97.

    Australia is the best bet, it is so close to Asia and Asia is where the new market really is, lots of money, lots of people, no terrorism, Australia really could pull it off, great experience with massive events, loads of infrastructure in place, and a great holiday destination to boot, if the Aussies dont get it they will only have themselves to blame, and football is the number one game for the kids, thats why the other codes are freaking out, mums like the kids playing 'soccer'.

  • Comment number 98.


    Football and Rugby both come from the same game

  • Comment number 99.

    Interesting blog Matt and as ever lots of argument and debate from your readers. I come at it from a different angle....that of human rights. I am not sure I would want a football world cup granted to any country or group of countries that a) didn't recognise the imporatnt role of women in society b) has an autocratic style of control over its people and c)shows no respect to the values that FIFA tried to uphold (e.g. kicking racism out of the game).

    I have toured in Saudi for example as a team manger and 1) was not allowed to take the team physio with me because she was a woman 2) the warmth of our reception was built solidly on immigrant labour who eaked out a living somehow living in tin shacks amongst all the wealth of the locals, 3)the visbile racism against those immigrant workers and the disdain in which they were held was appalling.

    before we all say that giving them the world cup will help change them.....I say get real.


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