In 15 days, FIFA’s embattled executive committee will vote to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. It’s a huge deal – both for the organizing body, which earns 95 percent of its four-year revenue from the tournament, and for the host country, which gains prestige (and cash) associated with holding the world’s most important event – and the end of a long process for each of the nine bidding countries. (Spain/Portugal, England, Russia, and Belgium/Netherlands are competing for the former tournament while the United States, Australia, Qatar, South Korea, and Japan are in the running for the latter.)
If FIFA’s technical committee is to be believed, however, there are problems with each bid.
The six-man group released the findings of its four-day trip to each potential host and had qualms with all sites.
Of the US’s bid, the committee said it was worried because “neither the government guarantees, the government declaration nor the government legal statement have been provided in compliance with FIFA’s requirements.” David Downs, the executive director of the American bid, said he was working with the government to allay these concerns, but the damage to what’s essentially a massive PR campaign may already have been done.
The good news for the Americans? Qatar, seen as their primary competition, didn’t get a passing grade either. The tournament will be played in June and July, the two hottest months of the year, and “the fact … has to be considered as a potential health risk for players, officials, the FIFA family and spectators, and requires precautions to be taken.”
The battle will continue to play out in the media over the next two weeks. Someone has to win, but right now, it’s not looking too good for anyone.