Voting for the 2022 World Cup

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MEI profiles the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup contenders that will be voted on in Zurich on 2 December 2010 in this two–part feature by MEI's editorial director, Rachael Church–Sanders. Here in part two, we look at the 2022 bids.

Australia 2022With FIFA President Sepp Blatter allegedly comparing Australia's bid to host the 2022 World Cup to a Formula One driver at the starting line with the car fully fuelled and ready to go, it is safe to say that after a rocky start involving a scandal over bid accounting, heavy media criticism and friction among some of the sports properties on venue use, Australia's bid is firmly back on track. In recent months, the support of its government has strengthened under the new administration led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Sports Minister Mark Arbib, a self–confessed " soccer nut" . A vote for Australia would be a vote for a "fun, relaxed, safe and secure" World Cup according to Australia 2018. Australia of course already has a reputation for organisation and hosting excellent major sporting events, as highlighted by the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. There is also strong public support for sports events in general and a growing interest in football. Also, many different national communities in Australia, such as Croatians and Greeks, would really engage with the World Cup and the country's strong tradition of volunteerism is expected to shine. An IBIS World study released in July 2010 estimates that the 2022 World Cup would generate AUS$35. 5bn in spending across the Australian economy – dwarfing the AUS $9bn generated by the 2000 Olympics. Being the gateway to Asia (which is home to two–thirds of the world's population) is also a major plus for Australia's bid. Bid chief Frank Lowy has stated his cause clearly: " We've never had it here. We're part of the Asian confederation and we're giving the opportunity for FIFA and world football to have exposure in Asia better than most other places. " Concerns over time zones have been mooted however, specifically over scheduling games so that they are shown at convenient times in Western Europe. Japan 2022Japan, which co–hosted the World Cup with South Korea in 2002, hopes to repeat its 2019 Rugby World Cup success by convincing FIFA to award it the elite football tournament for a second time with an elaborate futuristic all singing and all dancing high–tech bid complete with 3D holograms. However, FIFA may feel that it is too soon to send the event back to a relatively recent host, and in a statement released in September, the bid committee admitted that Japan "faces tough competition in its quest to host the World Cup for a second time". That said, Japan hasn't given up and is signing up corporate backers at a rate that any major event would be pleased with (around 20 at the time of writing including the likes of Japan Airlines). Japan has put its Tokyo 2016 Olympics disappointment firmly behind it and was praised by the FIFA inspection team back in July for embracing the old with the new in its bid, mixing technological innovations and environmental awareness with a respect for footballing tradition. Japan has appointed the popular manga character Astro Boy as a 'special ambassador' to drive that point home (symbolising "a future where technology and human emotions have melded together", according to the bid committee. ) An 83, 000–seat solar–powered stadium, tentatively called Osaka Ecology Stadium, would be used for the opening match and the final in 2022. And as a further nod to all things eco–friendly, Japan hopes to make use of the energy made by spectators; cheering, stamping and clapping will all be used to partly power the communications system thus providing a new meaning to the term 'happy clappy'. Another highlight of Japan's bid is a plan to invite 6, 000 children from the 208 FIFA countries to watch matches, participate in football clinics and learn about environmental issues and world peace with trips to the atomic–bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Korea 2022Like its 2002 World Cup co–host Japan, South Korea faces the possibility of being too recent a host to secure another edition so soon despite its excellent facilities, transportation network and proven organisational skills; "Korea delivers what it promises", is a phrase written in the first page of the country's bid book. A possible rapprochement with North Korea for the event may appeal to FIFA but may be too uncertain to merit any serious consideration from voters. South Korea is a nation that has become enamoured with football. It became the first Asian country to reach the semi–finals of the World Cup during the 2002 tournament and at this summer's World Cup in South Africa, the team made it to the second round of the tournament for the first time on foreign soil much to the delight of its citizens. The FIFA team inspecting Korea's bid praised the country's preparation efforts and passion to hold the global event. Inspection team leader Harold Mayne–Nicholls said: "I was here for the 2002 World Cup. After eight years, I was able to see the legacy is not only the stadiums but seems to be on every body in this country. " And South Korea's announcement of a $777m fund as part of its bid to host the event has given it late momentum. Speaking in October, FIFA vice–president Chung Mong Joon insists the country has as good a chance as anyone of hosting the 2022 World Cup bid despite its status as rank outsider. " The most important one of FIFA concerns is what kind of legacy is generated, " he said. " If the World Cup is held in Korea, it will support world football development and promote peace and prosperity in East Asia. It could be splendid legacy. " Chung's country's bid to host the event was considered by insiders to be back on firmer ground after he clarified his intention of not standing for the FIFA presidency against Sepp Blatter at next May's congress. Qatar 2022Qatar's bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup is central to its belief that sport promotes friendship, unity and peace globally. Additionally, the country is hoping to firmly lay the ghost of its failed 2016 Olympics bid to rest, and at the same time become the first Middle Eastern country to host a global mega sports event. At the SportAccord Convention in Dubai at the end of April 2010, the Qatar 2022 bid team unveiled five impressive eco–friendly, carbon–neutral stadia to the media that would be used to host the FIFA World Cup if the bid is successful, parts of which could be recycled to poorer countries. Not only is budget seemingly no problem, with millions being spent on stadia cooling solar technology to address the high temperatures that would come hand–in–hand with the required date of the tournament (also earmarked for less fortunate/temperature–challenged countries), but each state–of–the–art venue would be linked to a brand new metro system and totally integrated with a comprehensive shuttle bus network, allowing fans to travel to games by public transport. Even if FIFA can be convinced that hot weather won't be an issue if Qatar wins the event, size could be a deal–breaker with the head of a FIFA inspection team hinting during a September inspection that the nation's small stature could prove to be too much of an obstacle to host a World Cup. What Qatar lacks in size however, it makes up for in ambition, boasting a plethora of high–profile corporate backers and famous ambassadors. Former France international and Real Madrid star Zinedine Zidane is a recent addition to the country's cause, stating. " Football is for everyone. When I think of all the youth of the Middle East, what they're missing is an event like the World Cup. We had the 2010 World Cup in Africa and now it is time for the Middle East. " USA 2022Having hosted a successful tournament in 1994, the USA is confident it is in a position not only to organise a successful replay, but also to take it up a notch in terms of attendance and enthusiasm. However, with the USA up against some countries that have never hosted the event before and others that offer more FIFA–satisfying untapped markets, insiders worry that such a short gap between bids may count against the North American powerhouse. Central to the USA bid is taking the global game to the next level and capitalising on its own 'Beckham effect' following the iconic footballer's move to LA Galaxy in 2007, showcasing an abundance of state–of–the–art venues designed to hold five million spectators during any potential tournament. Cultural diversity is also another key selling point, with US citizens from every corner of the globe uniting the country in a spirit of sporting 'bon ami'. This could benefit the Confederations Cup, the traditional dry run for the World Cup that is held in the host nation one year out, and tends to be a tough sell for many countries. But not so in the USA? "If it's in the USA, those seats will be filled, " said one spokesperson. "The USA and Mexico would sell out; the European champions would sell out; the South American and African champions would sell out; the Asian representatives will sell. That's a big asset for our bid. "The USA is thought to have boosted its chances of success after addressing FIFA's concerns around international legacy that were highlighted by the governing body following its September inspection visit. This can now be crossed off the 'to do' list following promises of lavish ticketing revenue and the ambitious 'World Cup of Life' initiative which proposes that for every ticket sold, water for life will be provided for one underprivileged person. Other initiatives include sloganed wristbands, modelled on pro–cyclist Lance Armstrong's 'Livestrong' campaign, to raise funds and show solidarity with the World Cup's principles. The USA bid also proposes ambitious and trendy social networking sites to link up community football clubs in the country with those in the developing world.

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