As the various World Cup bidders start to put forward their cases to host the 2018 or 2022 tournament, who or what can Australia use to sell itself to FIFA’s deciding committee?
The FFA (Football Federation Australia) will officially launch Australia’s bid to host the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup on Sunday, 14 June, in Parliament House, Canberra.
December 2010 is the deadline for the announcement of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup.
So to the favourites; the USA has Barak Obama and capitalism, England has David Beckham and is the home of football (they will tell you that, anyway) and Russia has just added Guus Hiddink to its bid campaign and has loads of Roubles.
West Ham United fan and the first black president of the United States, Barak Obama could be crucial in getting the USA’s bid across the line.
The Guardian website had Obama talking up the US bid:
"As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta and the game brought the children of my neighbourhood together," he wrote. "As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters' soccer games in Chicago.
"This bid is about much more than a game. It is about the US inviting the world to gather all across our great country in celebration of our common hopes and dreams."
Stack Kevin Rudd next to the charismatic president and you can see that Australia has work to do.
It’s time for Australia to use its own big guns.
The Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) could be used to promote the bid, or maybe one of many of the beautiful world-famous actors Australia has - such as Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts and Abbie Cornish - could don a Socceroos shirt.
Kylie Minogue could sing 'I Should Be So Lucky' and AC/DC could do 'It's A Long Way To The Top'.
Reuters reported that former Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink could be involved in their bid.
FA general secretary Alexei Sorokin said on Tuesday, "We would like Guus to become an honorary ambassador of our World Cup campaign. We feel that his worldwide appeal would greatly enhance our chances to compete with other nations, such as England and Spain."
The 62-year-old Dutchman who was Australia’s miracle worker in 2006, getting the Socceroos to the World Cup for the first time in 32 years, could be their nemesis in 2018.
Sorokin said the Russian FA would present their plan to Hiddink when he arrives in Moscow to prepare the squad for next month's World Cup qualifier against Finland.
Russian football's governing body says the country is ready to spend some $10 billion on the World Cup.
England is the favourite, with one bookmaker giving odds of 6/4; however, during their launch, which featured David Beckham and Wayne Rooney, The Guardian reported:
A member from the controversial political group the British National Party (BNP), which is a far-right and whites-only political organisation in the United Kingdom, was accidentally invited to the launch of the World Cup bid campaign on Monday, and it has proved hugely damaging to internal relations in the game.
Herman Ouseley, chairman of football's anti-racist movement, Kick It Out, told the newspaper, "England 2018 has to be careful it doesn't alienate people, because if individuals feel offended by its associations with undesirables they could make life difficult for the bid by making their views known to important people whose decision it will be. I know people who are up for that.
"But people really do want the bid to succeed on the right basis. We want to see how it will be more inclusive, how there will be more BME [black and minority ethnic] representation, more women and a broader base contributing to the bid."
Jack Warner, the FIFA vice-president and key power-broker, said that inviting a BNP councillor to England's 2018 World Cup launch at Wembley while having only white and male speakers addressing the audience was an "error" that needed correcting quickly.
Warner, who has been critical of England in recent times, is head of CONCACAF and controls three of the 24 votes cast by the FIFA executive committee that will decide who hosts the 2018 tournament, said, "It's unfortunate that they did not consider minorities and had the BNP there – they made an error."
Warner also warned England 2018 against any complacency: "Don't rely on anything and believe they have an automatic right to be voted [for].
"But they have to look at the 24 members who vote, and they have to make sure fully, and I mean fully, that they [understand] the whole history of the English football, what it means to England and why England should be considered the premier candidate.
"They have to impress that this is England's time. This is an evolving situation that is changing daily and monthly and they have to keep abreast of these things."
Warner has not yet decided on who he will vote for when the committee decides in December 2010: "It's much too early for me to make my mind up on that – in fact, England has not really made a case to me as yet. I may have my sympathies, yes, but I haven't made my mind up."
The English bid is looking not to be perceived as arrogant and have ditched the 'football's coming home' tagline; the organisers banned the slogan, describing it as being "like a red rag to a bull" to rest of the world.
"It probably wasn't the brightest slogan ever invented," Lord Triesman, the chairman of the FA, said at the English bid event. "There was a bit of a suggestion that this was the only real home of football, and it was somehow in the natural order of things that it would come to us."
The launch also featured the presence of four members of the of 1966 World Cup winning squad – Sir Geoff Hurst, Sir Bobby Charlton, Martin Peters and George Cohen.
The Prime Minister was also there, and he said, "I'll do everything I can to ensure that Lord Triesman and his team record a famous victory. I believe it will inspire a new generation of football players and a new generation of football fans."
The Australian bid team will need to seduce the FIFA executive committee and Kevin Rudd next to Ben Buckley and Frank Lowy at the launch won’t be enough. The country must sell its best assets in some style if it is to compete with global names like Obama, Beckham and Hiddink.
Con Stamocostas Goal.com