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Page last updated at 17:08 GMT, Wednesday, 21 July 2010 18:08 UK

Fifa 'hails' Japan stadia on 2018 & 2022 World Cup trip

Chilean Football Federation president Harold Mayne-Nicholls and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan
Mayne-Nicholls (left) leads the Fifa team and met Japan's prime minister

Fifa inspectors have complimented the Japanese stadia as a two-month tour begins of the nine countries bidding to stage the World Cup in 2018 and 2022.

The team are checking facilities and arenas with each of the bidders.

"They looked at things in great detail and seemed to be impressed," Japan's Football Association president said.

After trips to South Korea, Australia, co-bidders the Netherlands/Belgium and Russia, the delegation is scheduled to visit England between 23 and 26 August.

Joint bidders Spain/Portugal, Qatar and the United States will also be visited.

After two days in the Japanese city Osaka, where plans for a 83,000-seat stadium to host the opening match and final are being considered, a five-member team from football's world governing body went to the Saitama Stadium north of Tokyo.

The arena was used in the 2002 World Cup, co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, and has been home to J-League club Urawa Red Diamonds.

July 19-22 Japan 22-25 South Korea 26-29 Australia
August 9-12 Holland/Belgium
16-19 Russia 23-26 England
30 Aug-2 Sep Spain/Portugal
September 6-9 United States 13-17 Qatar

"They rated it as a fine stadium," added Motoaki Inukai, president of the Japan Football Association president and also head of the Japanese bid committee.

An evaluation report from the team, headed by Chilean football federation president Harold Mayne-Nicholls, will be used by Fifa executive committee members when they decide which of the bidders will host the 2018 and 2022 finals at a meeting in Zurich on 2 December.

With Europe thought to be favoured for the 2018 World Cup, Japan are concentrating on the 2022 tournament - along with South Korea, Australia and Qatar - and have put together a high-tech bid.

After visiting Japan, the inspectors will head straight for South Korea before travelling on to Australia at the end of July.

Following a short break, they head to Holland/Belgium in the second week of August, before going to Russia, England and then Spain/Portugal.

The delegation will complete its inspection tour in the United States in September and Qatar, where the final trip will conclude on 17 September.

England's 1,752-page bid document was handed over to Fifa president Sepp Blatter by the national side's former captain David Beckham in May.

Just days later, bid chairman Lord Triesman resigned after he was caught up in a newspaper sting where he suggested Spain could drop its bid if Russia helped bribe referees at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

A Fifa inquiry found no substance to the claims and former Football Association chairman Geoff Thompson is now chairman of England's bid.

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see also
Triesman verdict pleases bid team
29 May 10 |  Football
Japan abandons 2018 World Cup bid
04 May 10 |  Football
Thompson named 2018 bid chairman
17 May 10 |  Football
Triesman quits FA & 2018 Cup jobs
16 May 10 |  Football
World Cup bids head-to-head
17 Oct 10 |  Football
Beckham hands over 2018 Cup bid
14 May 10 |  Football
Nelson backs 2018 World Cup bid
13 May 10 |  London
Beckham leads 2018 bid in South Africa
03 Dec 09 |  Football
England submits back-up 2022 bid
16 Mar 09 |  Internationals

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