Friday, May 14, 2010

ZURICH(AP) Nine candidates hoping to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 began delivering their bid books to FIFA on Friday.
Australia made the first presentation to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, handing over a 750-page book detailing how it would stage the world's biggest sporting event.
``It is now the kick off,'' Blatter told the Australian delegation.
Four bidders from Europe, four from the Asian confederation plus the United States will file through in alphabetical order to present their technical documents.
Europe is favored to be given the 2018 finals, with England and Russia competing against joint bids from Netherlands-Belgium and Spain-Portugal. All four are also in the 2022 race but would be barred if one gets the 2018 tournament.
Australia and the U.S. also are in both contests. Japan, Qatar and South Korea have focused solely on 2022, believing Europe is a lock for 2018 because the 2010 tournament is in South Africa and Brazil hosts in 2014.
FIFA's 24 executive members will choose the two hosts on Dec. 2 in Zurich.
Five of the current bidders have previously staged a World Cup: England (1966), Spain (1982), U.S. (1994), and Japan and South Korea (co-hosted 2002).


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