By Andrew Warshaw in Johannesburg
Published on Tuesday, 08 June 2010 00:17
June 7 - The race for the 2018 World Cup has intensified after FIFA today re-affirmed the decision to endorse joint bids.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter used a press conference following a two-day meeting of the Executive Committee to make it clear neither he nor his organisation were in any way against the concept of shared World Cups.
The subject has been discussed at length in recent months in order to establish an official FIFA line.
Blatter made it clear after the World Cup in 2002 that he was no longer in favour of an more dual hosts - but then appeared to soften that stance.
This has now been pretty much set in stone after the Executive Committee formally approved the principle of co-hosting, good news for Spain and Portugal as well as for Holland and Belgium.
"The 2002 World Cup staged by Japan and Korea involved two different organising committees, two different currencies and two different systems," said Blatter.
"It was almost like two different World Cups in one.
"That is not the case this time; all are in the European union and each bid has one organising committee."
All countries bidding for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup are holding a so-called bidding expo at the end of the FIFA Congress on Thursday (June 10) to promote their campaigns, open to all 208 federations as well as the 24 voting Executive Committee members.
Several including Russia and England, are also presenting their cases to individual confederations just prior to the Congress.
The activities of all bidding countries are being monitored throughout the World Cup by three FIFA observers to make sure there are no underhand methods.
"There is generally good coordination to make sure there is a fair balance between what they can and cannot do right up until December 2 when the decision is made," said FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke.
Blatter also used today's news conference for a clever piece of self-promotion as he moves towards an official bid for a fourth term of office.
Declaring that there would be "not one single demand, request or proposal" from the 208 national associations at the upcoming FIFA Congress, Blatter said the family of football was more unified than ever.
"We have overcome the past" , he said of previous unsuccessful challenges to his Presidency, adding that he would be elaborating on that theme at the FIFA Congress on Thursday.
"If there have been differences in the past, it's all over.
"A lot of the federations have different agendas and bringing them together has not been easy."
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