Earlier today the Professor posted a passionate and informative blog in which he says, in light of recent revelations (namely, “FIFA’s report” and a “no vote” from Oceania), Australia has “(Ben) Buckley’s chance” of hosting the 2022 World Cup. In addition, he argued the $45 million our Federal government and Football Federation Australia (“FFA”) have invested on the bid were a waste of money and could and should have been re-directed into other parts of the game, namely the A-League and grassroots football.
First, let me address FIFA’s report compiled by consultants McKinsey and Co. The report ranks our bid last in terms of generating revenue for FIFA and further, and of arguably greater concern, is the fact that it was commissioned and compiled to provide executive committee members “assistance” with their voting. This is a major blow. No doubt about it, one cannot help but wonder that had the report been compiled months ago whether Australia would have invested so much money on the bid.
However, the report also found:
– Only the United States, among Australia’s 2022 rivals had the capacity to meet 100% of FIFA’s revenue target(s).
– Of our remaining rivals, Japan was ranked second with 73%, South Korea third with 71% and Qatar 70%.
– We would return just 68% of FIFA’s desired return – the lowest of any of the nine bidders across the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The ‘F’ word musings…..:
– Qatar is 2nd last at 70%, yet who is the (newly) installed (not mine, the bookies’!) favorite to win the 2022 World Cup? You guessed it, Qatar! Are the Qataris worried by the report’s findings? I doubt it. Nor are the bookies – they are still favorites.
– Japan and South Korea look like decent money spinners but no-one, myself included, gives them a chance of hosting the 2022 World Cup, notwithstanding the success of the 2002 World Cup.
I still rank the United States as our major rival and favorite to clinch the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup.
– To date, the 1994 World Cup remains the most well-attended in FIFA’s history with over 3.6 million fans flocking to matches across nine stadia – in an era when only 24 teams qualified!;
– As FIFA confirmed in its inspection report, a World Cup this time around is expected to attract almost 5 million supporters – substantially more than any other bidder;
– The expected revenue from broadcasting rights (FIFA’s primary source of income) is also far higher than any of its four opponents; and
– Whilst other bidding nations, including Australia, are scratching around to refurbish and/or build stadia, the USA could host the World Cup tomorrow. In fact, it has the enviable task of whittling down its original list from 58 that expressed an interest in being host cities – nothing short of a luxury. Moreover, FIFA can be spared of the dramas that blighted South Africa and are already appearing in Brazil.
I’ll probably expand on all of that tomorrow.
But for now, let’s get back to “that report”. Whilst the report is no doubt important, and admittedly damaging to our prospects, I don’t think it will be a determining factor in who gets the World Cup. If reports are the only yardstick, what about the one prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the FFA earlier this year which indicated rapid growth in Asian markets would greatly increase revenue should the World Cup come down under?
In short, I believe the report will not (alone) cost Australia the World Cup any more than our bid’s positive research would single-handedly deliver it.
Second, and of more immediate concern, is the absence of an Oceania vote. The Oceania vote was one we were desperate to retrieve after executive committee member Reynald Temarii was suspended for his part in an undercover newspaper sting. This has now vanished with Temarii proceeding with his appeal and as such, Oceania will now not be allowed to install a replacement delegate.
I, and many others smell a rat…..reports suggest Temarii was convinced by Asian Confederation boss and Qatari, Mohamed Bin Hammam (the Qatar bid’s patron, no less) to continue his appeal. This will no doubt cruel our chances. Further, Temarii’s lawyers’ ”no comment” in response to such allegations appear to reinforce this conspiracy theory….so much for the phrase “the beautiful game”.
To add salt to the wound, Temarii has apparently been quoted as saying he would have voted for Australia.
In the words of Paul Dalligan and now the Professor, I can only say “Ah, yep”.
What does this all mean in terms of the “numbers” we need to get to ensure “football comes home”? 11 votes are now needed to secure a tied result, whereas previously 12 were needed to win.
A tie would force FIFA president Sepp Blatter to exercise his casting vote. Blatter has previously said our bid ticks all the right boxes. Should the need arise, I hope his words translate into actions.
Finally, regarding that $45 million….yes, it’s a lot of money and yes, it could have been better spent on enhancing the already struggling A-League and grassroots football. But, in the albeit, unlikely event we do secure the World Cup how much money, publicity and attention would the world game get at a local and grassroots level which would in turn, and at least in part, address these issues?!
12 years is a long time for more and more people to jump on the bandwagon, children included…..
In short, you have to be in it to win it.
And dare I say, That’s Love.
Football is all of the above and like anything, there are winners and there are losers.
Win or lose we can be proud of the effort we have put in. In Frank Lowy we have a leader that would do any football federation proud.
So whatever the result, let’s celebrate the fact we went in to this amazing game as first-time starters and played the full 90 minutes, rather than just sit on the sidelines too scared to break a leg.
And let’s deliver the eulogies tomorrow, if at all.