Africa may decide two World Cups’ destinies

2010-09-26 13:42

Having just hosted a hugely successful Fifa World Cup, Africa holds a crucial position in deciding where the 2018 and 2022 ­versions of the tournament will be staged.

A total of seven countries – Australia, England, Japan, Qatar, Russia, South Korea and the United States – have submitted single bids, with Belgium/The Netherlands and Portugal/Spain registering joint bids.

The number of bids coming from the same continent means that their respective representatives on the 24-member Fifa ­executive cannot vote as a bloc, as has ­happened in the past.

This is where Africa comes in, and her four votes have become invaluable to the bidding countries.

“You can see that lobbying has ­already started,” SA 2010 Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan said: “Representatives from the bidding countries were crawling all over Cairo this week.”

Jordaan, who is part of the Fifa inspection team that recently rounded off a tour of the bidding countries, was in the Egyptian capital for the Confederation of African Football (Caf) African Cup of Nations organising committee meeting.

“The Caf executive committee as well as a number of sub-committees held meetings there this week,” he said.

Africa has four votes: Issa Hayatou (Cameroon), Dr Amos Adamu (Nigeria), Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast) and Hany Abo Rida (Egypt).

The 24-member Fifa executive committee will meet in Zurich and vote to select the two hosts on December 2.

The fact that Europe has six countries vying for the host status will split their continent’s vote.

Being the strongest continent with the biggest representation on the Fifa executive, Europe has Joseph S Blatter (Switzerland), who has a casting vote as the organisation’s president, and eight other members.

Indications are that a European country will win the bid to host the 2018 version, which will leave Asia to fight it out against the US and Australia for 2022.

But even the Asian vote will be split as they have Junji Ogura (Japan), Mong Joon Chung (Korean Republic) and Mohamed Bin Hammam (Qatar), who cannot support each other as their countries are bidding.

The US have Chuck Blazer on the Fifa executive and while he can rely on some of the South American countries, they might give their vote to the Spain/Portugal joint bid due to language ties.

“I see the voting process going through a tough elimination process until two countries are left to fight it out in each round,” said Jordaan.

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