x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

England and US in World Cup bid driving seats

Qatar's bid to stage the 2022 World Cup scored 70 per cent in a report sent to all the 22 members of the Fifa executive committee who will vote on the 2018 and 2022 host countries.

Andy Anson, the England 2018 chief executive, said a report published by Fifa puts the country's bid for the 2018 World Cup 'way ahead of its competitors'.
Andy Anson, the England 2018 chief executive, said a report published by Fifa puts the country's bid for the 2018 World Cup 'way ahead of its competitors'.

ZURICH // Qatar's bid to stage the 2022 World Cup scored 70 per cent in a report sent to all the 22 members of the Fifa executive committee who will vote on the 2018 and 2022 host countries tomorrow.

The report by management consultants McKinsey saw the Gulf bid judged across the board in five revenue areas: ticketing, television and media rights, sponsorship, hospitality and merchandise/licensing.

They fared better than 2022 rivals Australia (68 per cent) but below the United States (100 per cent), Japan (73 per cent) and South Korea (71 per cent).

The United States would meet all of Fifa's projected revenue targets and deliver bigger profits to world football's governing body than any of their competitors, according to the confidential report seen by the Reuters news agency.

England, who are bidding for the 2018 finals, was also given an unbeatable overall 100 per cent rating by the management consultants who were commissioned by Fifa to analyse each bid. The report, which does not reveal Fifa's projected target figure, just each country's potential to meet it, has been sent to the 22 Fifa members who will decide the destinations of the two World Cups. It will be discussed by the executive committee for the first time today.

England were also rated as the highest, jointly with Spain/Portugal, by Fifa's technical evaluation of the bids.

Andy Anson, the England 2018 chief executive, told a news conference yesterday: "Fifa gave us a very strong evaluation and have just published an economic study which puts England way ahead of its competitors. If you combine the two, we clearly have the strongest bid. It's the perfect foundation."

Meanwhile, Russia will not take part in any horse trading for votes as it bids for the right to stage the 2018 World Cup, Vitaly Mutko, the Russian bid chairman, said yesterday.

In a feisty performance at a news briefing, Mutko, a Fifa executive committee member who will vote on the outcome, distanced himself from any alliance or collusion between nations to swap votes.

He refused to confirm that Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, would be part of Russia's final presentation team in Zurich.

"He will speak for himself," Mutko said.

Asked if he would speak from Moscow or Zurich, he replied: "I cannot answer that question, but it will not be a question tomorrow."

He was more forthcoming when asked about potential collusion, saying any agreements to trade votes would be unjust.

A recent ethics committee report found no evidence of illegitimate collusion between Spain/Portugal, who are bidding for the 2018 finals against Russia, England and Belgium/Netherlands, and Qatar, who are bidding for 2022.

However, the subject remains a hot topic of conversation. Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, said earlier this month that collusion was inevitable with two World Cups being awarded at the same time.

"Russia has presented its bid and has not entered into any collusion or agreement with anyone," Mutko said. "Our bid is clean and honest. We do not support the idea of any alliance or collusion."

* Agencies

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