The World's Game In The Heart of the Sun Belt

How does the U.S. World Cup bid rate?

The Atlanta-based World Football Insider site has already begun digging into the various World Cup bids for 2018 and 2022 that were submitted earlier this month to FIFA, and thus far the initial analysis indicates a fairly tight race at the top.

England, Qatar, Russia and the U.S. were neck-and-neck in WFI’s World Cup Bid Power Index, which reveals a thorough, detached method to assess the strengths and weaknesses of every bid.

The Americans rate strong in transport/accommodation and relationships with FIFA members, which figure to be two of the biggest factors of all. Not so strong is the “wow” factor, and the analysis does explain that expansive travel issues could be a drawback:

“The US bid’s transport system is one of the best but the distance between cities and venues raises questions over whether they would be able to fill stadia for low-profile World Cup matches.”

One of the centerpiece arguments of the Atlanta bid group is the primacy of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and it figures into a proposal to have the city become the venue for an International Broadcast Center should the U.S. land one of the available World Cups.

Here’s a video from the official USA Bid YouTube page of all the bidding cities, with Atlanta leading off:

With Europe (likely England or Russia) likely to get the 2018 World Cup, the battle for 2022 figures to come down to the U.S., Qatar and Australia.

If your first reaction about the Qatar bid is to question its viability, check out this video of the first five proposed stadiums, which are fully air-conditioned but open-air. They’re almost as visionary as the Middle Eastern nation’s audacious attempt to land the 2022 World Cup.

More facilities would have to be built and the biggest question is whether Qatar is big enough to have a 32-team tournament, but the idea of FIFA extending its political and commercial reach into the Arab world by staging a World Cup there is what makes international soccer politics so unpredictable. And intriguing:

(h/t Cloudspark)

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