Earlier Breaking Travel News took a look at the bidders hoping to win the right to stage the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but there is also a further glittering prize on offer. When FIFA meets today the governing body of world football will also decide where the 2022 tournament is headed, with a further five applications vying for the honour.
Australia, the early favourite, lines up against Japan, South Korea and Qatar. Here we take a look at the rival bids and asses their chance of winning this highest of sporting honours.
Pictured: Seoul World Cup Stadium would be central to any Korean bid
Australasia has never hosted the FIFA World Cup, but that could be about to change with Australia in pole position ahead of the vote.
On offer is a tournament based around the relaxed, safe atmosphere of the country. The tournament would also be on the doorstep of the fastest growing region in world football – Asia.
Australia has an outstanding record in hosting marquee events, with the FIFA World Youth Cup, Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Cricket and Rugby World Cups, World Expo and others all having been successfully hosted.
An outstanding sports infrastructure is also a major boon, with stadia that have hosted many international events accommodating up to 100,000 people.
Finally, with two consecutive appearances in the FIFA World Cup, Australia is building a passion for football.
Venues for the tournament will be spread across the country, with World Mobi this week launching a host of new guides to help potential visitors to Australia explore.
Aware no sporting event matches the World Cup in terms of its appeal, Japan is returning for a second bite of the cherry after hosting the tournament – in conjunction with South Korea – in 2002.
The Japanese bid is based around the idea of inclusion; with bid leaders thinking beyond football to invite people from around the globe to host the event with them.
This will be done by creating opportunities - both real and virtual - to connect the hopes of all those involved through the universal language of football.
Consumers have already embraced many things Japanese - from high technology to popular culture – but, in order to host the World Cup, the country is seeking to combine both the technological and traditional aspects of the local culture.
A total of ten stadiums have been selected by the bid organisers, situated in cities across the country.
Toyota is home to the 45,000 capacity Toyota Stadium, while Yokohama, Saitama, Fukuroi, Oita, Niigata, Kashima, Kobe and Sapporo are hoping to take their place on the world stage.
Japan and South Korea hosted a successful tournament in 2002
Outside of Europe and an outside bet to claim the 2018 World Cup is the United States. Having hosted a successful tournament in 1994, the USA is confident it is in a position to organise a successful repeat. But will such a short gap between bids count against them?
Central to the USA bid is an untapped market for the global game, with American delegates showcasing an abundance of state-of-the-art stadiums designed to hold five million spectators during any potential tournament. Cultural diversity is also another key selling point, with US citizens uniting the country in a spirit of sportsmanship.
Having initially identified 70 possible host stadiums for the FIFA World Cup in April 2009, US bid leaders trimmed the list to 18 official host cities when the final bid was submitted. Los Angeles - home to both the Rose Bowl and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – is sure to be among biggest winners, while Dallas (Cotton Bowl) and Seattle (Husky Stadium) are also set to win tickets to the party.
On the other hand, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Tampa and Washington DC will all have to wait until the vote are counted before finding out if they will get a chance to host the FIFA World Cup.
South Korea, too, is advertising itself as the ideal place to host the 2022 World Cup, showcasing its world-class infrastructure - including stadiums, cutting-edge technology and an efficient transportation system.
The government is also offering to bankroll the extravaganza following the success of the 2002 FIFA World Cup in the country.
Koreans have a tremendous love of football, with the characteristics of the Korean people - teamwork, commitment, competition, and passion – all on show. The national side has also been among the most successful in the region, as one of only six countries to have achieved at least seven consecutive World Cup Finals appearances.
If the country wins hosting rights for World Cup 2022 it will be a World Cup that succeeds in crossing the demilitarised zone between north and south, with bid chairman Han Sung-joo hoping to involve North Korea in the event of a successful bid.
This could be a real asset in the view of FIFA; a World Cup that brings together a people divided by politics achieving what years of diplomacy have failed to do in bringing peace and unity to the Korean Peninsula.
With or without the involvement of North Korea, South Korea has a fantastic array of stadia on offer to host the FIFA World Cup.
Incheon is also set to benefit, with two of the largest venues in the country - Munhak Stadium and Incheon Asiad Main Stadium – there, while Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, Ulsan, Suwon, Goyang, Jeonju, Cheonan and Jeju have all also been cited as possible venues.
Qatar’s Al Rayyan stadium could be redeveloped before 2022
Finally, Qatar, the emerging dark horse in the race to win the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Rivals Japan and South Korea both hosted the tournament as recently as 2002, while there are also concerns over the Australian bid. The timing of any World Cup in the country would potentially clash with the Australian Football League and National Rugby League season – causing conflicts over the use of venues. This could prove a real stumbling block for the bid, gifting the tournament to Qatar.
There is also a compelling case for the Middle East to be awared the right to host this global event. Africa (South Africa, 2010) and Asia (Japan/South Korea, 2002) have both been offered their chance to take a bow on the world-stage in recent years. When will the Middle East be offered its chance?
Qatar – with a population of just 1.6 million people - is promoting its offer as an Arab unity bid, hoping to draw on support from the entire Arab world.
Tourism in the country is also booming as authorities seek to distance themselves from oil, building a high-tech business and entertainment destination. Facilities are also likely to be second to none, with organisers even pledging to install air conditioning in stadiums to battle the sometimes stifling heat.
Legacy would be a concern, however, with potentially vast stadiums left empty after the tournament. However, Qatar has committed to reducing the size of each ‘modular’ venue after the event, allowing them to be used as permanent stadiums.
Other modules can then be re-erected in other Asian countries.
The majority of the action in a Qatar FIFA World Cup would be centred on Doha, with games taking place at the existing Khalifa International and Al-Gharafa Stadiums.
Sports City Stadium, Doha Port Stadium, Qatar University Stadium, Education City Stadium would all also be built ahead of the tournament.
Al Rayyan, Al-Khawr, and Al-Wakrah Stadiums would also be used, while new construction would be undertaken in Lusail, Umm Salal and Ash-Shamal.