Image for Australia’s soccer World Cup Bid Rankings

With 189 days until the FIFA Executive Committee decision on the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the second edition of the WFI World Cup Bid Power Index shows the relative strengths and weaknesses of the nine bids.

Australia is the biggest loser in the bid index, sliding out of the top four from the No.2 position they occupied in the February edition. It has dropped to seventh place and is five points off its 2022 rival Qatar.

The rankings are not meant to predict the outcome of the FIFA vote on Dec. 2, 2010, but to show the merits and drawbacks of the bidding nations at regular 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

Bid Operations and Leadership
It’s been a shambolic few months for Australia’s leadership. Bid chiefs Frank Lowy and Ben Buckley have struggled to win the support of the AFL and other sporting codes. The fact that stadiums were only sorted a few days before the bid book handover raises serious questions about Australia’s ability to deliver a World Cup. If it can’t get domestic support, how can it expect to get international backing?

Wow Factor/Unique Selling Points
The comments of Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy at the bid book presentation in Zurich were telling. “We hope and pray that we might be the lucky country,” Lowy said. Hardly the stuff of a well-organised and confident bid.

Government and Public Support
Australia’s bid chief Frank Lowy said his country was united behind the bid and promised “the best World Cup that ever was” two weeks ago. But it’s hard to see the truth in this statement. The battles with rival sporting codes are not over. The Socceroos drew 55,000 for their friendly 2-1 win over New Zealand at the MCG yesterday but other sports like the AFL and rugby codes have deeper roots in Australia and a much bigger fanbase that is being disillusioned by the bid team’s demands to other sports over scheduling and stadia use if the country were to stage the tournament.

Venue Plans
Australia again loses ground owing to the fact it finalised its venues just a few days before the May 14 bid book handover.

Current Rankings
1 – England (65), 2 – Qatar (63), 3 – Russia (62), 4 – USA (61), 5 – [S] Korea (59), 6 – Belgium/Netherlands (59), 7 – Australia (58), 8 – Portugal/Spain (55) & 9 – Japan (53).

Full report - http://www.worldfootballinsider.com/Story.aspx?id=33321

(Source -  worldfootballinsider.com cited in The Age under “Stadium disputes hurt bid”, Friday 28 May 2010)

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