FIFA will decide on 2nd December this year which countries or countries will host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup.

FIFA’s policy of continental rotation ended in October 2007 and now countries that are members of the same confederation as either of the last two tournament hosts are ineligible, leaving Africa ineligible for 2018 and South America  ineligible for both 2018 and 2022.

Although technically some federations have submitted bids for both, the reality is that 2018 looks as if it will be in Europe while 2022 will be decided from among the Asian Football Confederation candidates.

USA has also bid for both tournaments.

The European contest is an interesting one. England and Russia have submitted individual bids while joint bids have been submitted by Belgium and the Netherlands and by Spain and Portugal.

Many criteria are considered such as the infrastructure of the country, how easy is it to travel, how many hotels have they, what is the geographical location of the stadia and so on.

The experience of Korea and Japan being joint hosts in 2002 will make FIFA very wary of repeating the joint hosting arrangement.

There were major problems, not least the strained historical relationship between the two countries.

This led to basic questions such as ‘what will be the official name of the tournament?’ Will it be 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan or 2002 FIFA World Cup Japan/ Korea?

So too was the decision on where the opening ceremony and the Final would take place – Seoul or Tokyo?

These may seem simple questions but when national identity and pride are involved they were big issues.

In South Africa there were 10 stadia for the competition in Korea/ Japan in 2002 there were 20.

It was almost at times as if there were two separate World Cups taking place. In terms of organisation, this was certainly the case.

I believe therefore that the vote for 2018 will be between Russia and England. I do not think that FIFA will want to repeat the experience of 2002 and this will in all probability rule out the joint bids of Spain and Portugal as well as Belgium and Netherlands.

England or Russia?

Russia has never hosted the competition before and has a strong bid team. It also has access to oil wealth but there are problems in the distances the thousands of supporters will have to travel and special passport arrangements will have to be made to allow them entry to the country and also to travel to different parts of Russia.

China was able to deal with the passport problem for the 2008 Olympics and Russia will do the same if it is awarded the 2018 World Cup.

England’s bid is very strong. It is already spoiled for choice of stadia. It has the best marketed and most watched league in the world and is recognised as the home of football – an emotional argument which can be pitched against the fact that Russia has never been a host country.

It will also argue that it will be over 50 years since it had the 1966 World Cup.

Perhaps the biggest drawback to England has been the apparent arrogant attitude of those involved in the bidding process. Initially England appointed Lord Triesman, the then Chairman of the Football Association to head the bid. He is very well connected politically in England but in terms of world football he was an unknown. This was a major mistake.

Only when he resigned, and the FIFA Vice-President Geoff Thompson took over as chairman of the committee did the bid regain the momentum it had certainly lost.

David Beckham is England’s best ambassador and he must be used to promote the bid in the way that Franz Beckenbauer headed the successful German bid for 2006.

On balance, England could win but it all depends on securing 13 out of the 25 members of the FIFA Executive Committee on 2nd December.

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