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Chances of U.S.-hosted World Cup any time soon appear to shrink
by Paul Kennedy, August 31st, 2007 7AM

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If we were to project out the implications of a proposed in FIFA system's to award World Cup hosts, don't count on the World Cup returning to the United States any time before 2026.

That appears to be the effect of the proposed new FIFA bidding process revealed by Reuters' FIFA sources on Thursday in Monaco, where much of Europe's top soccer brass was assembled for the ceremonial kickoff to the new soccer season, the UEFA Champions League draw and other UEFA events.

Instead of the continental rotation system that resulted in South Africa getting the 2010 World Cup and Brazil about to be awarded the 2014 finals, a new system would be put into place for 2018 -- when CONCACAF hoped to be awarded the finals.

"There will be a slight twist, however, in that the previous two regions or continents to host the finals will not be allowed to bid," one source close to the talks told Reuters. "So, say for 2018, South America and Africa nations would not be allowed to bid, but countries from every other region could. The new idea is based on the bidding for the Olympics which generates more excitement and interest."

While the USA would potentially face stiff competition within CONCACAF from Mexico and Canada, it would face potentially overwhelming competition against a European candidate (notably England) and Asian bidder (specifically China).

If Europe and Asia claimed the 2018 and 2022 finals, the field for a CONCACAF winning bid wouldn't be cleared until 2026 -- when European and Asian bidders would not be allowed to bid.

Former French star Michel Platini's recent election as UEFA president would appear to draw European soccer closer to FIFA and its president, Sepp Blatter, Platini's political ally. This proposed "twist" in the bidding process would allow the World Cup to return to Europe every three World Cups instead of every five World Cups as under the rotation system.

It should be said that it was never easy to imagine the rotation system lasting through a whole rotation such that Europe waited 20 years between World Cups.



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