Bid chief Frank Lowy was hopeful there’d be talk of the lucky country once again as Australia kicked off presentations from nine candidates to host the 2018 or 2022 soccer World Cup.
Australia delivered its bid to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, handing over a 750-page book detailing how it would stage the world’s biggest sporting event.
“It is now the kick off,” Blatter told the Australian delegation.
Beckham heads England bid
Four bidders from Europe, four from the Asian confederation plus the United States were set to file through in alphabetical order to present their technical documents.
Australia was followed by an England bid team fronted by David Beckham.
Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy said he recognised it was a difficult contest.
“We hope and pray that we might be the lucky country,” said Lowy, a billionaire businessman who is leading the bid.
“We are proud to present to FIFA our bid documents, highlighting a technically brilliant bid supported by unified government funding and commitment at all levels,” Lowy said.
European nation expected to win
“Our nationwide hosting proposal means millions of sports fans across Australia will be able to enjoy the biggest and most exciting sporting event in the world in wonderful new or upgraded stadiums in their own cities.
Europe is favoured to be given the 2018 finals, with England and Russia competing against joint bids from Netherlands-Belgium and Spain-Portugal. All four are also in the 2022 race but would be barred if one gets the 2018 tournament.
Australia and the US also are in both contests with the latter expected to be a more realistic chance of success.
Japan, Qatar and South Korea have focused solely on 2022, believing Europe is a lock for 2018 because the 2010 tournament is in South Africa and Brazil hosts in 2014.
Plans laid out
Each bid book explains how the monthlong, 64-match tournament would be organised, with details of at least 12 stadiums, plus training camps, hotels, security protocols, IT and medical support, and fans’ entertainment.
Candidates must also give FIFA copies of government guarantees, contracts with each city and venue, and details of finance and insurance cover.
FIFA officials will use the bid books as the basis for technical inspections of each candidate between July and September.
FIFA’s 24 executive members will choose the two hosts on December 2 in Zurich.
Five of the current bidders have previously staged a World Cup: England (1966), Spain (1982), US (1994), and Japan and South Korea (co-hosted 2002).
Five nations – Brazil (1950 & 2014), France (1938 & 1998), Germany (1974 & 2006), Italy (1934 & 1990) and Mexico (1970 & 1986) – have been awarded two World Cups.