After the World Cup, attention shifts to 2018/22 bidding war

Soccer legends Hierro and Figo are fronting the joint bid for Spain and Portugal to co-host the 2018 World Cup. They face competition from England and Holland/Belgium

What you need to know:

Holland and Belgium have joined forces with one multidisciplinary team to convince the Executive Committee that they can organise a fantastic World Cup in 2018 or 2022.

Cape Town

Ahead of the New Year, all eyes are firmly fixed on the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the first to be held on African soil. But beyond the historic show next summer, a host of countries will be hoping that they have done enough to convince Fifa’s 24-man Executive Committee that they deserve the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The winning bids for both tournaments will be announced by Fifa president Sepp Blatter a year today. A dozen countries including England, Australia, Spain, Portugal and Holland, have locked horns in what is shaping up to be a highly competitive bidding race.

Before the World Cup draws in Cape Town, Monday Scoreline’s Fredrick Musisi Kiyingi attended the 2018/2022 Bidding Expo are spoke to key players of the bidding countries.

Holland/ Belgium
Holland and Belgium have joined forces with one multidisciplinary team to convince the Executive Committee that they can organise a fantastic World Cup in 2018 or 2022. In the words of former Dutch international Ruud Gullit, the two countries deserve to host the tournament for the very first time. “We are two small countries but good at hosting and organising events. We successfully hosted Euro 2000 and in all fairness, as founder members of Fifa, we deserve a chance,” the former World Player of the Year argued.
Holland and Belgium have lined up 12 cities and fourteen stadiums
Gullit is also confident that Holland can win the World Cup next year. “We were the first country to qualify for finals, have quality players and the injury to Van Persie might turn out to be good omen for the team.”

“In 1987, Marco Van Basten missed the entire season with injury but came back in time for Euro 1988 to inspire us to victory. I see Van Persie in a similar situation. He may turn out to be a key play for us.”

The former Chelsea and AC Milan star respects England but fears the fatigue factor could cost them. “They play a lot of football. They have the FA Cup, Carling Cup, Premiership as well as internationals.”

England
David Beckham’s earth-shattering brand appeal made England’s stand the most sought after, over shadowing his national team manager Fabio Capello. The Italian sees no reason why England shouldn’t be awarded the right to host the World Cup. “England is the home of football,” he said, but quickly pointed out who he thinks will be in frame of the 24 men who will vote. “Spain/Portugal and Russia will run England close.”

England last hosted the World Cup in 1996 and Lord David Triesman, Chairman of the country’s 2018 bidding team, is excited by the thought of the world’s biggest and most prestigious tournament being stage in England. “We are all out to present a bid that exceeds all expectations.

Spain/ Portugal
Not to out done by Beckhammania and Capello, Spain and Portugal paraded their own national icons former internationals Fernando Hierro and Luis Figo respectively. The two nations, glorious members of Fifa, have produced some of the greatest players and clubs of European and world football over the last five decades. Spain hosted the World Cup in 1982 - the first with 24 teams. Portugal on the other hand successfully hosted Euro 2004.
Hierro and Figo are confident they will win the bid for either 2018 or 2022 come next December.

“The conditions and structure in place certainly give us an edge over our rivals,” former Spain skipper Hierro said. Figo argued: “Brazil were rewarded with 2014 as a recognition for the talent they have produced over the years. When you look at the talent at our disposal and what we have produced over the years, then we deserve to host either of the two world cups.”

Hierro does however recognize that bids from the other European nations England, Holland/ Belgium and Russia as being strong.

Asian optimism
Five nations from the Asia Football Confederation (Afc) are hopeful of outlasting all other bids. South Korea and Japan, who successfully co- hosted the 2002 edition, are running separate bids this time round. They are joined by Australia, Qatar and Indonesia, all of whom are specifically targeting the 2022 World Cup. Korea are also eyeing 2022.

Japan’s bidding committee Motoaki Inukai told the Expo that they have a plan that will inspire change for the next decade. “In 2002, we gave you the World Cup of smiles. in the coming decade, Japan will strengthen the role of the Fifa World Cup in further developing football and mankind.”

His Korean counterpart Han Sung-Joo said they have world-class infrastructure, enormous passion for football and experience and knowledge gained from organizing global sports events over the years. “We have good communication and transport systems. Any point in Korea is accessible within one hour by air or one to two by high speed trains,” Sung-joo explained. He also boasted that South Korea have participated in seven consecutive World Cups and possess 14 World Cup stadiums in as many cities.

Indonesia believe they have the biggest football market in Asia, with 12 stadiums in plan.
Australia’s Bonita Mersiades expressed confidence in the Kangaroo nation’s experience at staging Rugby World Cups, Olympics, Commonwealth Games and the FIFA Under- 20 World Cup. “We are the only continent not to host the World Cup, we deserve to be given a chance.”

USA meanwhile want Fifa to return football’s great showdown to North America to build on the success story that started in 1994 when they hosted the World Cup.

Analyzing each nation’s bid provides no conclusions, with all countries packaging the best possible information and brochures to win mass appeal.

Like Rio de Janeiro’s shock victory to stage the 2016 Olympics, the smallest sympathy detail could win the majority vote among the 24 men in charge. The real challenge lies in impressing the Exceutive Committe and no one else. For now, all bidding countries must do all they can in the next 365 days.

The 24-man Executive Committee:
Sepp Blatter - Switzerland
Michel Platini - France
Julio Grondana – Argentina
Issa Hayatou – Cameroon
Jack Warner – Trinidad and Tobago
Dr Mong-Joon– Korea
Maria Villar– Spain
Reynald Temarii – Tahiti
Geoff Thompson – England
Dr M. D’Hooghe – Belgium
Ricardo Teixeira – Brazil
M. Bin Hammam– Qatar
Senes Erzik – Turkey
Chuck Blazer – USA
Worawi Makui – Thailand
Dr Nicolas Leoz – Paraguay
Dr V. Koloskov – Russia
Junji Ogura – Japan
Slim Chiboub – Tunisia
Dr Amos Adamu – Nigeria
M. Lefkarritis – Cyprus
Jacques Anouma– Ivory Coast
F. Beckenbauer – Germany
Rafael Salguero - Guatemala

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