FIFA ranks 2018 World Cup bids ahead of vote

Bids to host the 2018 World Cup from England, Russia and current favourites Spain/Portugal have all been graded “low-risk” by FIFA.

Only outsider Belgium/Netherlands has been graded as “medium-risk” by the world football governing body.

However, problems were cited will all four bids.

In England, FIFA identified concerns surrounding the availability of training camps for the 32 teams expected to take part in the competition, as well as the number of contracted hotel rooms and training camp hotels.

British prime minister David Cameron recently confirmed he would travel to Zurich next month to support final campaigning for England’s bid ahead of the vote on December 2nd.

Following the announcement England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson said: “It’s great news the prime minister will be with us in Zurich as he has been an integral part of the campaign for several months.

“The coalition government has been extremely supportive since it came into power and shortly after taking office, Mr Cameron telephoned FIFA President Sepp Blatter to re-affirm that government support.”

However, the England bid is likely to face stiff competition.

A rival Russian bid was also rated “low-risk” by FIFA. While widely praise, concerns here centred on the transport plan, particularly in relation to air traffic in such a vast country.

On Russia, the report adds: “The country’s vastness and its remoteness from other countries, coupled with the fact the high speed rail network is limited would put pressure on the air traffic infrastructure potentially causing transfer challenges.”

Spain/Portugal are also a “low risk” but were warned a proper safety and security strategy must be developed.

Concerns were also noted over the nature of a joint bid.

“It should be noted that a co-hosting concept could pose challenges regarding the joint operational delivery of the FIFA World Cup in terms of ensuring consistent standards,” the report explained.


England 2018

Although the FIFA inspectors’ report is broadly positive about all the bids, England look to have received marginally better marks than their main rivals - some much-needed good news after a month of media-related setbacks.

Earlier this week bid leaders from England wrote to FIFA distancing themselves from British media investigations into the opaque nature of the organisation.

FIFA was, however, broadly positive in its assessment of the England 2018 bid.

On England, the report states: “The bidder has not contracted the required number of venue-specific training sites or venue-specific team hotels.

“The fact that not many of the rooms have been contracted in full compliance with FIFA’s template hotel agreement requires further analysis and potentially renegotiation.

“FIFA could be exposed to excessive pricing.”

“Any delay in the completion of transport projects could impact on FIFA’s tournament operations and the proposed installation of temporary facilities could impose a high cost burden.”

World Mobi

Also in Europe this week, World Mobi launched its new city guide to London. 

World Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the World Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.

However, each city retains its own mobile identity via a dedicated domain. Already on offer are Brussels.Mobi, London.Mobi, Sanfrancisco.Mobi and Sydney.Mobi.

London.Mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.

Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.

Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.

City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.