FIFA Report -- Bidding Process for 2018, 2022 World Cups Announced

(ATR) FIFA kicked off the simultaneous bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in a letter sent to its 200-plus national associations.

Bangkok, THAILAND: Iraqi defender Jassim Mohammed Gholam (R) executes a bicycle kick as Vietnamese player Le Cong Vinh looks on during the Asian Football Cup's quarter final at the Ratchamangla Stadium in Bangkok, 21 July 2007. Iraq is leading by 1-0 at the end of the first half of play against Vietnam. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Bangkok, THAILAND: Iraqi defender Jassim Mohammed Gholam (R) executes a bicycle kick as Vietnamese player Le Cong Vinh looks on during the Asian Football Cup's quarter final at the Ratchamangla Stadium in Bangkok, 21 July 2007. Iraq is leading by 1-0 at the end of the first half of play against Vietnam. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

FIFA Kicks Off Bidding Process

FIFA kicked off the simultaneous bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in a letter sent to its 200-plus national associations.

The letter sets a Feb. 2 deadline for bidding nations to express their interest. The process culminates in a dual decision by the FIFA executive committee in December 2010.

Six months prior to the decisions, contenders are required to submit detailed bids to host either or both the events.

South American countries are excluded from both hosting both events, since Brazil is due to host the World Cup in 2014. African nations are excluded from running for 2018 following the World Cup in South Africa next year.

The governing body in 2007 ended the process of systematically rotating the event among its continental confederations.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke says in the letter that if a country from a particular confederation hosts the event in 2018, other countries in that region will be out of the running for 2022.

Host nations must be able to provide about 12 stadiums with at least 40,000 seats with 80,000 seats for the opening match and the final, as well as highly developed communications, transport and accommodation facilities.

FIFA Keeping An Eye On Ticketing

FIFA has dismissed rumors of possible problems with the South Africa 2010 ticketing system following developments at the computer company contracted to maintain IT support.

Chairperson and founder of Satyam Computer Services Ramalinga Raju was forced to resign last week amid a scandal over inflated profit reporting.

Media reports claim the company has been inflating figures by up to $1 billion over a number of years.

A South African newspaper, the Cape Argus, quotes FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer as saying that Satyam had been contracted to supply “technical support” for the World Cup and that the FIFA Board is discussing the “new developments” at Satyam and monitoring the situation.

“The discussions with Satyam are ongoing, but we are confident that developments over the past week at the company won't affect preparations for the tournament,” she told the newspaper.

Asked if FIFA is considering cancelling the Satyam contract, Fischer says: "We are still discussing the matter and will announce any developments if any occur. It's too early to say now.”

Tickets for the 2010 tournament are due to go on sale from Feb. 20. FIFA is expected to make a major announcement regarding the ticket purchasing process that day.Ticket prices range from $20 for a category 4 ticket for a group stage match, to $900 for a category 1 ticket for the final.

FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009 Grand Final to be held in Barcelona

FIFA and its presenting partners EA Sports and Playstation have announced that the highly-anticipated 2009 FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final will be held at Port Olimpic in Barcelona on May2.

The Grand Final will be a showdown between 32 of the best virtual footballers in the world with the winner taking home a prize of $20,000 and a new KIA Soul.

There are two routes to reach the final. Nineteen of the 32 places in the final can be won through qualifying events that began in October 2008 and continue until April in countries including New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Italy and the U.S.

Already, more than a staggering 320,000 players from around the globe have competed in these events. The remaining 13 Grand Finalist spots are available via the FIWC09 Online Qualification at PlayStation Network.

Since its inception in 2004, the FIFA Interactive World Cup has become the world's largest football gaming tournament, with players from 179 countries competing in last year's tournament.

…Briefs

…Spain remains at the top of the rankings with the top 14 positions remaining unchanged in the first FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking for 2009. Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Brazil follow. The table takes into account the 27 senior international matches played so far this year as well as 20 matches played in the second half of December 2008. The only new arrivals in the top 20 are Egypt and Nigeria. Costa Rica and Lithuania are other new additions for the top 50.

…Cristiano Ronaldo is the FIFA World Player of the Year, completing a sweep of soccer’s top individual honors for 2008. Ronaldo had been widely expected to win after capturing the Ballon D’Or as European player of the year and World Soccer magazine’s player of the year. “It is an overwhelming moment, a very special moment in my life,” Ronaldo says.

Brazil’s Marta won the women’s award for the third year in a row. She earlier announced she is joining the Los Angeles Sol in the Women’s Professional Soccer League.

…FIFA President Sepp Blatter has announced that Arabic will become the fifth language of official Web site FIFA.com. The new version will be launched shortly before the start of the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009.The Arabic version of FIFA.com will be presented by ART (Arab Radio & Television), a long-term FIFA broadcast partner. FIFA.com is already available in the four official languages of world football's governing body: English, French, Spanish and German.

Written by Anthony Stavrinos

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