January 11, 2010
A WC stadium inspection tour this summer
By Michael Lewis
After talking to people backing several bids during a special World Cup bidding Expo prior to the World Cup draw in South Africa last month, I ascertained several things.
• After the May 14 bid book submission deadline, FIFA will go on a 10-country inspection tour after the South Africa World Cup -- probably going from east to west (starting with Australia). That could make the U.S. the final country on the tour, which could start in August and end in September.
• That same inspection team would visit all 10 candidates, staying in each country for a few days. The inspectors are likely to spend five days at each of the 10 countries, concerning themselves with a country's stadia and infrastructure.
• Several bidders agreed that FIFA should separate the teams by giving a European nation a chance to host the 2018 competition and another part of the world (the Americas or Asia) in 2022. In other words, the European nations would be placed together -- Holland/Belgium, England, Russia and Spain/Portugal -- with the other countries -- Korea, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Qatar and the U.S. -- forming another group.
"The biggest challenge is the amount of bidders," a FIFA source said. "FIFA never had 10 bidders at the same time. We are to watch and make sure its equal treatment."
The USA Bid Committee will reveal the 18 cities in its at the ESPNZone Tuesday.
In December, in Zurich, Switzerland, FIFA is scheduled to make a decision as to which countries would be selected to host in 2018 and 2022. One date that has been bounced around has been Dec. 2.
If a stadium isn't mention in the bid, does that mean it won't host games?
Not necessarily. When U.S. Soccer submitted its bid in 1987 for the 1994 World Cup, only five of the nine stadiums that hosts games were included in that bid. Giants Stadium wasn't mentioned in the bid, but wound up hosting seven games, including a semifinal.
Remember, the 2018 and 2022 World Cups are so far off there might be a stadium or two that hasn't been built yet that might wind up hosting matches.
Michael Lewis would like to hear from you. If you have a comment, drop him a line at email.