Friday, November 26, 2010

I don't quite understand why FIFA is choosing to nominate the 2022 World Cup at the same time as they are choosing to nominate the 2018 World Cup. Usually a nation should be given about 6-8 years to prepare for a world cup. 12 is a little excessive.

Some of the bidding nations are plausible picks and others are just ludicrous.

Plausible nations for 2018: England, Netherlands/Belgium
Risky nations for 2018: Spain/Portugal, Russia

Plausible nations for 2022: United States and Australia
Risky nations: Japan and South Korea
Unplausible nations: Qatar

Of course I am not a FIFA expert nor do I profess to know that much about soccer but I think that England or Belgium/Netherlands would be a good pick to host the world cup given its plethora of stadiums, tourism, accommodations for fans, history, and distance between each major stadium. The bids have similar strengths and weaknesses but have earned strong government support.

What I am unsure of is how a bid with Spain/Portugal would fare and how Russia would do. Russia is a rather far destination and like South Africa may not attract the same number of fans that previous world cups have been able to. Spain and Portugal are on the brink of default and might need of emergency loans so economically speaking, both countries might not be able to handle a World Cup. They are great tourist destinations but they have bigger issues to solve

I really like both the Australia or the US bids. Australia has plenty of available stadiums and can readily build a few more in 12 years time. The US doesn't even need to build new stadiums. For the US the only concern is transporting between West coast and East coast and selecting cities that can optimally hold tourists. Chartered planes for each country wouldn't be very burdensome either. However FIFA has deemed that the US is a medium risk since it lacks government stability. 2 words: TOTAL NONSENSE. If they believe that Republican opposition will block a World Cup, well remember back to the 80s and 90s where Republicans were a majority in Congress and supported the bid for 1994.

Riskier nations
Japan was able to successfully host the 2002 World Cup but that was with South Korea's help. Without South Korea's help, Japan will need to build some new stadiums and likely support a lot of tourists and fans from everywhere. Same thing with South Korea. South Korea's flaring tensions with the North may not be good business and who is to say that both countries will compromise within 12 years. South Korea's size is a matter of concern when it comes to accommodating tourists and fans.

Qatar, although they claim to have great plans and the president of FIFA Sepp Blatter says the Arab World deserves a World Cup, it seems completely unrealistic. A joint effort would make this possible but 5 stadiums will have to be built in Doha which is slightly unreal considering Qatar isn't a very strong soccer nation that needs all 5 stadiums. Then they have to build several more in the other, smaller cities. Then the conservative fundamentals of Qatar might be overlooked but then the climate is highly unfavorable with temperatures exceeding 100F degrees. The cooling systems that were proposed might work but the financial burden that Qatar faces might not be solved with their oil wealth.

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