Saturday, June 27, 2009

How Australia will win its bid for the World Cup

During a speech at the Press Club gallery, FFA Chairman Frank Lowy said that Australia had embarked on a Herculean task in trying to win the right to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cups.

Victory, he said, would fulfill the countries’ wildest dreams.

There is another eighteen months for the FFA and the rest of Australia to inform, impress, influence and inspire the members of the FIFA Executive Committee.

Frank Lowy says that the philosophy that underpinned the revival of football at a local level is the same that motivates the World Cup bid.

The economic impact of hosting a World Cup will be huge.

The FFA commissioned Price Waterhouse Coopers to undertake an economic impact analysis of hosting the World Cup and the Confederations Cup.

A joint PWC/Monash University study estimated the impact as a $5.3 billion increase in GDP and a cumulative employment effect of 74,000 jobs.

The decision on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be made in December this year.

This is the first time that a decision for two World Cups will be made at the same time.

The bidders Australia will have face are favourites England; a strong Iberian bid by Spain and Portugal; a resource rich Russian bid; other Asian bidders Qatar, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea; and North America’s Mexico and the United States.

To win it, the Australian bid require 13 votes. There are 24 members in the FIFA executive who will decide.

The nine bidding associations go into a ballot. Each member of the 24 member executive including FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, vote for one country.

What happens then is the country that has the lowest number of votes will be eliminated. The same process of elimination begins again until finally there is one country remaining.

There are four members from Africa, four members from Asia, three from Central and North America, eight from Europe, and three from South America and one from Oceania.

So how will Australia get those 13 votes needed during the first round of voting?

You would suspect that the members from the bidding countries on the FIFA executive that vote Japan, United States, Belgium, England, Russia and Spain will vote for themselves.
Oceania has stated on the World Game TV programme that they will vote for Australia. So count one to the Aussies there.

So how will the rest of Australia inform, impress, influence and inspire the members of the FIFA Executive Committee?

The bid and TV ad slogan Come Play was one way of doing it. As well as the website where ordinary fans can sign up and interact with Socceroos.

A Facebook site has also gone up with up-to-date information about the bid.

Why choose Asia?
First, the FFA has to convince the world to choose Asia ahead of Europe or North America. The World Cup has only been in Asia once during its 80 year history.
During the speech, Frank Lowy spoke about the might of Asia’s political and economic power, and how it was rising around the world.

The wealth of Asia continues to grow, he said in his speech. “It is where the customers are for goods and services, and for football.”
He added that the biggest television audience for the World Cup, by far, lies in Asia, not Europe or America.

According to IATA, in 2014 there will be more people flying in Asia than in Europe or America.
Lowy outlined why Australia is a better choice that Europe, saying it was: “Like putting a cherry on top of a gigantic chocolate cake.” He added “Europe is a mature market – it is already overflowing with the highest quality football on a weekly basis.”

Of the United States, he said: “Even under the rosiest scenarios, (it) will remain problematic for football given the unique characteristics of that market and the entrenched competition from other sports.”

So the FFA has convinced the Wworld to go with Asia, why then choose Australia?
Frank Lowy outlined six points:
1) The first was Australia’s record of Safety, Organisation, Friendliness at major events

2) The Australian bid has support from all levels of government to mount a genuine national bid. Frank Lowy has said: “From the outset the Prime Minister has provided unequivocal support, and his personal involvement, including a direct appeal to delegates at last year’s FIFA Congress in Sydney, has made a huge impact.”

3) Australia has the infrastructure. FIFA technical requirements for the 2018 and 2022 bids state that the bids should have:
* A minimum of 12 stadia, at least two of which must hold 80,000 fans
• 10 stadia which must hold a minimum of 45,000 fans
• Training facilities for 32 teams; and,
• Five-star accommodation for a minimum of four teams, the FIFA organisation and match officials in every host city.

4) The World Cup in South Africa will be in winter. So the far from being a problem, the FFA believes that the weather, distance and time zones and the Australian climate delivers a situation for perfect football weather in June and July.

Speaking about the weather and time zones, Mr Lowy said: “Too much was made of Australia’s so-called geographic isolation and time zone differences” He went on to say that the the 1 billion viewers in China, and the billions in India, Japan, Korea, and South East Asia, would appreciate being close to Australia’s time zone.”

5) Australia has generated enormous goodwill in world football over the past few years, especially during the last World Cup in Germany. The Socceroos excited everyone. And it’s worth noting that in terms of ticket sales to the 2006 World Cup, Australians ranked fifth in the world and Australia’s group games for the World Cup in South Africa have already sold out.6) Lowy also spoke about how the FFA was being recognised in FIFA and the AFC.

The chairman of the FFA said: “It was no coincidence that senior Members of the FFA had been recognised and are now serving on key Committees of regional and world football.”
So the other bidders have famous heads of state, famous sports stars and celebrities. Australia secret weapon is you and me.

The FFA say they will have to inform, impress, influence and inspire the members of the FIFA Executive Committee. There is eighteen months before the decision.

Do you think we can do it?

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