Goal.com's Ewan Macdonald looks at how the fate of the world's biggest tournament will be decided...
The 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups will be respectively the 21st and 22nd editions of the world's biggest international football tournament. Competition to host these events is fierce, as bringing the World Cup to a country spurs economic gains through tourism, broadcasting, logistics etc., and is also a source of great prestige for current government.
As such there are nine serious bids remaining for the rights to host the tournament, with others - including Indonesia and Mexico - having fallen by the wayside during the pre-bidding process.
All the bids for 2018 are in Europe. Some of the European countries wished also to bid for the 2022 World Cup, but because the tournament will by necessity be hosted in Europe in 2018, and two consecutive Cups on the same continent are not allowed, these bids were voided. Bids for 2022, meanwhile, come from throughout the world, with the exception of South America - which is hosting in Brazil in 2014 - and Africa, which has not put forward a bid despite being eligible to do so for 2022.
The winner of each edition will be chosen by the FIFA Executive Committee in a manner to be described shortly.
Below we see the list of bidders, with links given to the Goal.com bid profile.
|Belgium & Netherlands||Australia|
|Portugal & Spain||South Korea|
| United States
Each bidder had to provide:
- A pre-bid show of interest by 2 February 2009.
- Official bid registration by 16 March 2009.
- Establishment of official Bid Committees by 18 September 2009.
- An official application dossier, including a contractual commitment towards hosting the event, by 14 May 2010 (although the Bidding Agreements were in fact due the previous December).
- Access to a FIFA delegation charged with inspecting facilities. The dates for these visits were as follows (all 2010):
This leaves 22 voters, and as such 12 votes or more will win either bid. Votes take place behind closed doors on Voting takes place via a secret ballot on December 2nd during a gala event in which each prospective host will give a presentation to the assembled Committee. This part will be broadcast live on television worldwide. The Committee will then retire to cast their secret votes. In the case of a tie FIFA president Sepp Blatter casts the deciding vote, and it is he who will announce the winners in front of a global television audience.
Voting is to be conducted according to the outcomes determined by FIFA during their fact-finding trips to each country. FIFA have produced both private and public documents decribing the strengths and weaknesses of each country, the public versions being available on the website. Furthermore each bidder's Bid Book gives a detailed description of the facilities on offer in each country. Voters are expected to select the best bidder based on numerous factors - not just the facilities and logistics, but also on FIFA's commercial aspirations and the governing body's long-standing mission to spread the game beyond its traditional strongholds of Europe and South America.
The cases of member Adamu and vice-president Temarii indicate flaws in FIFA's voting model. Tales of cash-for-votes abound in the world of FIFA, and with undercover journalists from the United Kingdom apparently uncovering two more cases this year, FIFA's credibility has again been hit. Neither Temarii not Adamu - the latter of whom claims that he was quoted out of context when asking for money to build new pitches in Nigeria - has been removed from their post, but were instead fined, suspended, and banned from voting.
Animosity between competing nations has also been a hallmark of the current round of bidding. England and Russia sparred verbally over their respective bids before making peace in October; Vice-President Jack Warner, meanwhile, has hinted that if the British Broadcasting Corporation airs a documentary shedding light on alleged corruption within the organisation prior to the day of the vote, then potential England voters might be dissuaded. (Warner's history with England, and with FIFA-related corruption, is at this point well-known.)
In short, while the bidding process itself has largely been transparent and without problems, the voting - which, again, takes place on 2 December - is shrouded in typical FIFA secrecy. Barring leaks or voluntary revelations, all the outside world will know is the final outcome.