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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 October 2007, 21:22 GMT
World Cup bid Q&A
Five Live sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar
By Gordon Farquhar
BBC Radio 5 Live sports news correspondent

Q. What are England's chances of succeeding in their bid to host the 2018 World Cup?

Better than last time, but hardly nailed on. Their first priority is to persuade the voting Uefa members on Fifa's executive committee to prefer their bid over other European rivals - Holland and Belgium for certain, rather more menacingly, perhaps also Russia.

That is achievable.

Then they must capitalise on their improved relationships with other football associations around the world to grab those pivotal votes from Africa and South America.

Q. What do they need to do to create a successful bid?

Like London's 2012 Olympic bid, they have to create a reason for people to vote for them: Find a story, stick to it and sell it with conviction. China will be able to create a persuasive sell based on the development opportunity for the game in that vast nation.

England need to find another angle, probably focused on the excellence of the facilities and the passion of the fans.

Then they have to put together a watertight technical bid, and try to avoid creating any reasons for people NOT to vote for them.

Q. What is the breakdown of votes and associations? And how many do England need to gain to be awarded the 2018 World Cup?

As things stand, there are 24 votes to play with, from six confederations, about a third of them - the largest single group - from Europe.

If as expected, there are bids from Asia and Concacaf (the North, Central American and Caribbean confederation), that's likely to split the first round of voting several ways so an outright straight majority is unlikely.

It's likely to come down to second preference votes, and trying to switch the Asian and Concacaf votes as and when their candidates are eliminated.

But we're probably getting ahead of ourselves: if 10 or more candidates come forward, Fifa is likely to hold an elimination vote well ahead of time to whittle the candidates down to a more manageable four or five. England might have to make the cut first.

Q. Who are the early contenders and what are their chances compared to England's?

Already with their flags up the mast are Holland and Belgium, USA, China, Australia and Mexico. Russia are rumbling, but not yet committed.

As to their chances, I'd pick China and Russia, if they go for it, as the biggest threats. The development opportunities for the game are greater in either of China and Russia, but so too are the risks.

Q. What went wrong in the 2006 World Cup bid? And, what will have been learnt from that failed attempt when they lost out to Germany?

In the bidding for 2006, England's problem was Germany. There was supposedly a long-standing gentlemen's agreement brokered in a smoke-filled room that Germany would stand aside and support England for Euro '96, if England would do the same for the World Cup a decade later.

606: DEBATE
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Whatever the truth of that (and it remains disputed), enough people within Uefa thought England had done the dirty on Germany by bidding to oppose them.

England simply didn't have enough influence in the corridors of power, and the FA wasn't doing enough to win friends around the world.

Post-vote, they invested in the international development department, setting up seminars on coaching and administration which they still take around the world, and have managed to throw bodies onto committees at Uefa and Fifa, all in recognition that they had to shrug off an image of arrogance and complacency.

Q. What is in England's favour and what is not?

The world's best stadia, the most passionate fans, the 2012 Olympics.

Franz Beckenbauer thinks England should host 2018. It'll be a relatively inexpensive World Cup for Fifa to stage, and the TV rights will be lucrative.

Does anyone think England couldn't pull off a decent World Cup?

Against that, football is already highly developed in England, there's little opportunity for expansion of the game, unlike the major rivals. What's the reason why Fifa Executive Committee members should vote for England?

The FA really need to work on that idea, and be difficult to turn down.

Q. So what happens now?

The next formal steps are some way away, but, in reality, the campaigning starts now.

It'll be 18 months or so before the bid process is formally launched, and 2011 before there's a vote.

The candidates will need a lot of stamina, endless ideas, and a sizeable war-chest to keep the momentum going, and peak at the right time!



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