Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2018/2022 Bids: Where They Stand

The Financial Times runs down the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and assesses the chances of each country winning. Though the bidding process for 2026 hasn't even begun yet, China's recently stated interest in hosting that year's event could play a role in determining the host of the 2022 tournament. Both the 2018 and 2022 hosts will be announced on December 2, 2010.

For now, though, insiders are tipping Russia for 2018. Fifa delights in tapping new markets through World Cups. Russia is a white spot on Europe’s footballing map. It has never hosted a major football tournament. Crucially, it can muster more lobbying might than its rivals. When Vladimir Putin phones asking for your support, you probably say yes. A Russian World Cup would cost a lot, but if Putin wants to spend the money, Russia will.

As for the 2022 World Cup, the most important words spoken in this race came from a country that isn’t even bidding. Wei Di, new head of China’s football federation, said this month: “I think China should apply for the World Cup [of 2026].”

China’s government will make the decision, not Wei Di. But Fifa would love China to bid. If the country signals it will, that would shape the race for 2022. If China gets 2026, no Asian country could stage 2022, because continents cannot host twice running. The only non-Asian bidder for 2022 is the US. So if China wants to bid, the US would surely get 2022.

Cold war rivals vie to stage football’s big event
The Financial Times
July 30, 2010