Germany’s international broadcaster (DW.DE)
- Category: Sport News
- Published on Monday, 22 December 2008 08:16
- Written by Administrator
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FIFA's announcement that it will hold a simultaneous bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups is expected to lead to an increase in the number of countries seeking hosting rights.
Three countries have set up bid teams - Australia, England and a joint Belgium-Netherlands proposal - but now Spain and possibly China are expected to join the race, too.
Applications open in January 2009 with a decision on both cups announced in December 2010, but Australia, under FFA chairman Frank Lowy, is firmly committed to 2018.
England, who last hosted the World Cup in 1966 and missed out when bidding for 2006, are the early favourites for 2018. The concurrent bid process would then enable the critical European votes to swing behind a non-European bid for 2022, potentially enhancing Australia's claims.
Australia's bid has to overcome a perception that a successful European bid - with its favourable time zones to maximise FIFA's broadcast rights, and coming after the 2010 South African tournament and the 2014 edition in Brazil - is a fait accompli.
Speaking at the FIFA executive meeting in Tokyo, president Sepp Blatter said: "England is a strong candidate because it is a strong country in football. They are strong but there are other candidates that are strong as well. Spain is also strong and if you look at all the candidates, you see that the fight is open."
FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said the World Cup in Germany two years ago showed the largest group of television viewers was from Asia.
"This is a welcome decision from FIFA," Buckley said. "Hosting the world's biggest sporting event in Australia would be a wonderful opportunity for Australia and for the Asian region."
Blatter said the simultaneous bidding process will help FIFA during tough economic times.
"It will also be a good opportunity for sponsors and marketing partners to be reserved in 2018 and 2022," Blatter said. "When everyone is speaking of recession we have to consider it will also touch our game. FIFA is … safe … with $800million in reserves but we must also look at our partners."