World Cup 2018 – 10 days to decision
According to a number of bookmakers England are still favourites to get the decision on 02 December to host the 2018 World Cup. So armed with a tenner would you put your money on Wembley Stadium having the World Cup Final played under its arch in 2018? What do the bookies base this on?
The issue of countries presenting joint bids is an interesting one. Both FIFA and UEFA over the years have gone with the dual nation arrangement for the hosting of their events. The 2002 World Cup in Japan/South Korea is the only occasion to date that the FIFA tournament has taken this approach. UEFA however, had the 2000 tournament in Belgium/Netherlands, the 2008 event in Austria/Switzerland and in 2012 is set to be played in Poland/Ukraine. This shows there has been some appetite in the past to try this approach, but have both UEFA and FIFA consigned future joint bids to the subs bench?
For 2014 FIFA has awarded the World Cup tournament to Brazil and for 2018, the recent Executive Summary Reports have stated that the fact that Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands are joint bids, is a possible risk/weakness of their submissions. Interestingly for 2022, there are no joint bids at all to host the World Cup. UEFA have awarded the 2016 European Championships to France and during that process the only joint bid (Norway/Sweden) withdrew before voting. So based on this apparent move back to single country hosting is it fair to surmise that the joint bids for 2018 will be unsuccessful?
If we assume this to be the case then England is left with Russia as its sole rival. FIFA has in recent years been looking to take the World Cup to different locations, as witnessed by Japan/South Korea (2002), South Africa (2010) and in 2022 could take it to new venues in either Qatar or Australia. So FIFA’s desire to broach new locations could work in Russia’s favour. Certainly Russia see the England Bid as a significant threat as witnessed by their outburst in October. Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko has had to apologise for comments made by Alexei Sorokin, (General Director of the Russian Bid team). England complained that Russia had broken bidding rules when Sorokin made disparaging comments about London, highlighting the capitals high crime rate and youth alcohol problems. These details emerged from an interview with the Russian media and appeared to contravene FIFA’s rules about talking about rival bidders. Further fuel was added to the fire after Viacheslav Koloskov (Honorary President of the Russian Football Union), referred to England’s 2018 bid as “absolutely primitive” and “comical”.
Not in Russia’s favour is it record on racism, the fact that the country would need 13 new stadiums for the event and supporting infrastructure. These present the Russian bid as more of a risk then the England 2018 Bid.
England United, The World Invited…..maybe, just maybe that tenner is worth a punt.