The entrance to FIFA headquarters in Zurich (Getty Images)

(WFI) Delegations from the 11 bids vying to stage the 2018 or 2022 World Cups gather at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland for a week-long bidding workshop.

Bid representatives will discuss the bidding process and the exacting requirements needed to stage a World Cup with FIFA officials.

Entering the bid race for 2018 are: Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands/Belgium (joint bid), Russia, Spain/Portugal (joint bid) and the U.S. Qatar and South Korea are only bidding to host the 2022 edition.

There is no media access to the workshops and FIFA would not divulge further information about them. A spokeswoman said the meetings involved a working group of FIFA executives drawn from various departments.

However, the Australian bid published some details about the agenda on its new bid website –

The FIFA event is described as “a mandatory workshop for all bidders”.

The Australian delegation numbers seven bid officials; each of the 11 bids is likely to have sent a similar size group.

Football Federation Australia’s delegation includes Bonita Mersiades, head of corporate and public affairs, Stuart Taggart, head of major events, along with FFA’s chief commercial officer, John O’Sullivan, and four other bid team members.

According to the FFA’s bid website, topics to be covered at the workshop include:
– Legal issues including the guarantees to be provided by host governments by the end of this year
– Financial issues
– Corporate social responsibility
– Technical issues including requirements for accommodation, host cities, stadia and other facilities
– Commercial issues
– Television and other media rights
– Communications and public relations

US trims applicant cities and stadia
The US bid committee has shortlisted 27 cities as potential host venues for the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 under a review process of 38 applicants.

The Request for Proposal process resulted in 11 cities being rejected because they did not fulfil FIFA’s strict criteria. Numerous US markets that did not play host to matches during the 1994 World Cup remain under consideration, including Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis, Denver, Seattle and Phoenix.

In conjunction with the list of 27 cities, the US bid revealed a short list of 32 stadiums still under consideration. The venues average almost 74,000 in capacity and represent a wide spectrum of facilities, featuring stadiums typically used for college and professional football, including open-air, domed and retractable roof venues.

All 32 stadiums currently exist or are under construction with eight featuring capacities between 80,000 and 108,000 spectators. The list of venues is the result of a four-month process that began in April with representatives from 58 stadiums expressing interest in being considered for the US bid.

FIFA’s criterion requires a candidate host nation to provide a minimum of 12 stadiums and a maximum of 18 capable of seating 40,000 or more spectators. Stadiums with a minimum capacity of 80,000 are required by FIFA for consideration to play host to the opening and final matches.

The US used stadiums in nine cities when it hosted the 1994 edition.

“We will be working closely with officials from all 27 cities, stadiums and host committees over the next few months in our process of identifying the final list of cities that will be included in our bid book to FIFA in May 2010,” said David Downs, executive director of the bid committee.

FIFA and its 24 member executive committee will study the 11 World Cup bids, conduct site visits and name the two host nations for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010.

Written by Mark

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