England takes 2018 lead

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With less than 300 days until the FIFA decision on the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts, the World Football Insider Bid Power Index shows the strengths and weaknesses of the 10 bids.

England takes the early lead in the first edition of the WFI Bid Power Index. Russia is the nearest European challenger, but Australia is closer still and is the country to watch in the coming months as the race heads to a finish in December 2010. Across 10 categories, England scores 64 out of 100 possible points. Australia follows with 62, with Russia and Qatar tied on 61 and the US on 60. Notching sub–60 scores are the joint bids from Holland–Belgium and Spain–Portugal, while Japan and Korea are also off the pace. Indonesia lags well behind due to a plethora of issues and lingering doubts whether it can stay the course of the bid race. Despite the widespread consensus that the World Cup will be awarded to Europe in 2018, FIFA refuses to confirm that a deal is being negotiated that would reduce the field to European bids. In theory, this means that Australia, Japan and the US are still in the running for 2018, though the suspicion is that they stand a better chance of staging the 2022 World Cup. Indonesia, Korea and Qatar are only bidding to host this edition. The WFI Bid Power Index is the only regularly published review of FIFA 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. Detailed bid dossiers are due for submission to FIFA by May 14. 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 and leadership; wow factor and unique selling points; relations with FIFA Executive Committee members; cost and funding resources; government and public support; international public relations; venue plans; security; transport and accommodation; and legacy.

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