Thursday 02 December 2010 – So here we go. After two years effort by the various Bid teams, the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups is only hours away. Just as the 2022 hopefuls made their final presentations yesterday, this morning the 2018 Bids make their final 30 minute pleas. The Netherlands/Belgium Bid team kick-off proceedings, followed by Spain/Portugal, England and finally Russia. The Executive Committee then go into their conclave, with the announcement likely from 15:00.
Just to reiterate, 12 votes are needed to secure a majority. If this figure isn’t reached in the first round of voting, then the Bid with the fewest votes drops out and another round of voting occurs until the majority is achieved.
What is my gut feeling? Well the bookies are rarely far off the mark and if they are to be believed then Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022) will be celebrating later today. My preferences are England (2018) and Australia (2022), but I don’t really believe that this will come to pass and so I don’t feel nervous as the minutes tick away to decision time.
The fact is that I believe that the England 2018 is the best bid in so many ways and this was further reinforced a few days ago by the report compiled by FIFA consultants McKinsey which revealed that after an analysis of a number of financial sectors, England topped the findings as the Bid would meet 100% profitability in every area. 2018 rivals Spain/Portugal received 91%, Netherlands/Belgium were given 87% and Russia were awarded 86%.
However, there has to be an acceptance that there are people looking for an excuse not to award the tournament to England. The Sunday Times investigation and the BBC Panorama programme supplied some ammunition for the detractors of the English Bid as did the ugly scenes at the end of the Birmingham City and Aston Villa League Cup game last night.
Despite my lack of optimism, is there a final twist to proceedings today? Back in 2001 Beckham saved England’s blushes against Greece with a last minute free-kick to secure qualification for the 2002 World Cup. Can “Becks” inspire another England team of a different kind, to snatch a dramatic win?