Russia closes on England 2018

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Russia is narrowing the gap on England accoding to the third edition of World Football INSIDER's World Cup Bid Power Index, which shows the relative strengths and weaknesses of the nine bids for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.

With 64 days until the FIFA Executive Committee decision on the tournament hosts, the bid power index looks very different from the May 2010 edition. " England's status as clear favorite in the race for the 2018 World Cup has been eroded by Russia in recent months, " said World Football INSIDER editor Mark Bisson. " After impressing FIFA inspectors, Russia's campaign is gaining momentum––and the influence of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin cannot be underestimated in the final weeks of lobbying. " The USA edges ahead of Qatar in the bidding contest for 2022 after FIFA highlighted the 'logistical challenges' of the Gulf state's bid proposal. But the presentation of Zinedine Zidane as a bid ambassador was a masterstroke, and an indication that there's plenty more to come in Qatar's campaign. " The other five bids have work to do to provide compelling reasons to FIFA about why they deserve to host the World Cup. " The new rankings reflect the merits of bid campaigning at the World Cup in South Africa and FIFA's verdicts on the bids following its series of summer inspection visits. England remain in the pole position in the bid race but Russia––their main rivals for the 2018 tournament––are just one point behind. The USA leapfrogs Qatar to move into third spot. Across 10 categories, England scores 68 out of 100 possible points (up 3 points). Russia follows with 67 (up 5 points), with USA on 66 (up 5 points) and Qatar on 65 (up 2 points). Holland–Belgium and South Korea both have 61 points, with Australia a point adrift. Failure to build on their early momentum is costing the other two bids, which have sub–60 scores. Spain–Portugal and Japan have lacked spark and dynamism in their campaigns over the summer and have much work to do to stand any chance of winning the FIFA vote. The full analysis is now published on WorldFootballinsider. com. The WFI Bid Power Index is the only regularly published review of World Cup bids that is based on expert analysis and first–hand contact with the bid nations, including interviews with bid leaders and information and figures from each of the bid launches. The rankings are not meant to predict the outcome of the FIFA vote on 2 December 2010, but to show the merits and drawbacks of the bidding nations at intervals before the decision. The 10 categories are: bid operations/leadership; wow factor and unique selling points; relations with FIFA Executive Committee members; cost and funding resources; government and public support; international PR; venue plans; security; transport and accommodation; and legacy.

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