The FIFA delegation in charge of inspecting the 2018-2022 bidding nation sset sail to England for a 4 day inspection. The inspection team, led by Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the president of Chilean Football Federation, and includes Danny Jordaan, the head of the organising committee for this year’s World Cup in South Africa, arrived in London yesterday to begin its tour of venues and facilties.
Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister hosted the delegation as prime minister David Cameron is presently on a “well deserved” vacation. Today, Tuesday 24th, the inspectors will be holding meetings and visit London venues. The England bidding team put a strong emphasis on the 4 venues in the capital; Wembley Stadium, Arsenal Emirates Stadium, one Olympic Stadium being built for 2012 and the new stadium of Tottenham Hotspur.
Tomorrow, the FIFA officials will head north and visit Newcastle, Sunderland, Manchester City and Manchester United Old Trafford stadiums.
The bidding team is confident, as its Chief Executive Andy Anson said: “We believe our bid book reflects a strong proposal to Fifa from a country that can deliver on facilities, commercial opportunities and general infrastructure, for the overall benefit of the tournament, its players and officials and the fans.
England’s bid is based around stadiums and facilities that are already in place and already being used on a regular basis and so there is minimal construction and planning required. The country’s readiness to host the World Cup is recognised by Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who said today: “The easiest way to organise the World Cup is to go to England. Everything is there – fans, stadiums, infrastructure – it’s easy.”
For the bidding nation, August 19 to 26 has been declared ‘Back the Bid Week’, with a many activities organised. Clubs in the top-tier Premier League and second-tier Football League showed their support for the bid in matches at the weekend. Further events are planned on Tuesday 24 to mark 100 days until the announcement of the host countries for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
England is competing against Russia, Netherlands-Belgium, Spain-Portugal and USA for the right to host the 2018 World Cup, which is widely expected to be held in Europe. These countries plus Australia, Japan, Qatar and South Korea are also in the running for the 2022 event.
England is the sixth bid to be assessed by the Fifa inspectors, who will subsequently conduct visits to Spain and Portugal, USA and Qatar before producing a report outlining their findings.
The hosts of both tournaments will be decided by the 24-man Fifa executive committee in votes on December 2.