Also Read: Who Will Host World Cups 2018 and 2022?
So with Brazil confirmed last week as the official hosts of the World Cup 2014, unsurprisingly seeing as they were the only bidders, attention has already started to turn to World Cup 2018.
Several countries have put themselves forward for potentially hosting the World Cup in 11 years’ time, including England, the United States, China, Australia, Russia, Benelux (joint bidding between Belgium and Holland), and possibly Canada and Mexico.
England’s chances at this still early stage look strong. They can boast some of the world’s best stadiums, passionate fans, plus the added bonus of the Olympics 2012. The game is already very developed in England, in comparison to some of the other potential rivals. This would effectively prove to be not as costly for the tournament to be staged in the country, especially as the TV rights would be very profitable. England seized the opportunity to launch a bid to host the 2018 World Cup after Fifa recently abandoned its policy of rotating the tournament between confederations allowing European bids to come in.
The last time England hosted a World Cup was in 1966, the only time, as we all know, they have won it. The bid in 2006 was disastrous with the FA not doing enough to secure to votes but also with Germany have too much power and influence. There were alleged rumours of a gentleman’s agreement being made between the two nations where England could host the Euro ’96 tournament if Germany could host the World Cup a decade later. It remains to be disputed but apparently England broke that agreement by launching their own bid, unsuccessfully.
USA, hosts of the ’94 World Cup, which saw Brazil win on penalties also look to broaden the interest of the game by playing hosts again. In 1994 there were nine stadiums that were used, averaging about 69,000 spectators a game. In women’s football, the World Cup was staged in the country in 1999 and 2003, where new stadiums were built especially in Houston, Seattle, Tampa and Phoenix.
China, who hosted this years women’s World Cup and will be hosting the Olympics next year are also strong favourites this early on. With spending on preparation reaching over $40 billion for the Olympic games next year China have turned themselves into serious candidates for world class events. The country qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 2002, losing all three of their group games to Brazil, Costa Rica and Turkey and failing to score. However, their game has improved a lot over the years and they’ve made people take notice that they will be forces to reckon with in the future. Also, Fifa could probably take into account the hosts for that year, Japan and South Korea, were a successful yet very expensive campaign.
Australia. Another country who’s football is rapidly progressing, especially after reaching last year’s second round in the World Cup after unluckily getting knocked out by eventual winners of the Cup Italy through a last minute penalty. The socceroos have never hosted a football World Cup but did host the Rugby World Cup in 2003 as well as the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Therefore they have the resources and stadiums to launch a notable bid, with the Olympics and the Rugby World Cup being also marked for their efficient organisational skills. The only thing that could possibly harm the Australian’s and Chinese bids is the kick off times for European broadcasters with the time difference.
As much as England will be seething to see it but there is another threat from the Russians. Money would not be an issue at all for the Russians to stage the tournament, thanks in large to a certain patriotic Roman Abramovich. The national team’s new training camp is being funded by the Chelsea oligarch, at the cost of £20 million. Russia were also recently given the rights to stage the winter Olympics in 2014 and will have the experience of hosting a major world event.
The joint European bid of Belgium and Holland, combined with Luxembourg too, did host the Euro 2000 competition. Matches would be played only at Belgium and Holland with Luxembourg hosting the Fifa congress, which wouldn’t gain them automatic qualification. The negative factor to joint hosting of such a massive event, as proved in 2002, is the high costs.
The outsiders at this point are Canada and Mexico. The Canadians hosted a colourful Under-20s World Cup this summer, proving they can handle the heavy workload. They have decent stadiums as well in Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal, Victoria and Burnaby (Vancouver) but the main attraction is the Toronto stadia which was the venue for the Under-20s final. A football World Cup at senior level though could be a different kind of workload altogether though. The Mexicans have hosted World Cups twice before and if they were to host again they’d be the first country to stage three World Cups. However, the quality of some the stadiums do not reach the standards required these days.
Official bids will all be confirmed in 18 months where genuine marketing campaigns will begin. The votes are cast in 2011. Overall, each country will need to prove they have the genuine and realistic quality of hosting such a big event on a global scale. Fans’ safety is absolutely essential, something which is concerning for the next two hosts in South Africa and Brazil where discrimination, kidnappings, violence and robberies are rife.
Each bidding country will need to focus their attention on the votes coming in from Africa and South America as the two continents are exempt. Successful bids will need organisational skills, the ability to handle pressure, fresh ideas, financial security and the capability of meeting expectations.
Who do you think will win the bid to host the 2018 World Cup?