While the bidding campaigns for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups™ are in full swing and the subject of much discussion around the world, other contests have been under way to host the FIFA U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cups in 2012, the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2012 and the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups in 2011 and 2013 – all of them competitions which offer the ideal showcase for the successful host countries.

Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, China PR, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Libya, the Netherlands, Oman, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Tahiti, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam are all bidding to host at least one of these five FIFA competitions.

The FIFA Executive Committee takes certain key factors into account when making its decision, and, according to Jim Brown, Director of the FIFA Competitions Division, countries bidding to host a competition have to fulfil three fundamental criteria. The most important of these is without doubt government support for the football association. After all, it is essential that there is a harmonious relationship between the two in order to ensure that the tournament goes off smoothly and to lend added credibility to the organisation of the event.

Infrastructure also plays a vital role. The hotels, stadiums, training grounds, hospitals and means of transport and communication in the country are evaluated in order to ensure that participants have a certain standard of comfort. Finally, private-sector support, cooperation between the different stakeholders in the game, the influence of the association and non-sporting support in the country also play a considerable role in the eyes of the decision-makers.

Developing and promoting football
Various FIFA departments, such as Legal, Finance, Marketing, TV and Development, study each country’s bid dossier and then deliver their report to the Competitions Division before the dossiers are finally examined by the members of the Executive Committee. “We analyse each country’s bid in meticulous detail and evaluate whether it has worked effectively to develop and promote football,” explains Brown.

The decision-making process does not focus on those countries with the greatest financial resources, but rather on the potential benefits to a country in terms of sporting development, education and infrastructure. The thinking behind this approach was demonstrated in 2008 when Chile played host to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup even though women’s football did not enjoy great popularity in the country. The competition proved to be a resounding success and drew in thousands of excited spectators because the whole country rallied behind it.

Today, Chile has a women’s football league and there has been a steady rise in the number of registered women players. “We encourage countries with little faith in their chances of hosting FIFA tournaments to bid by showing them that determination and commitment alone are the essential ingredients in ensuring the success of a competition,” explains Jim Brown.

It may have increased the workload for the FIFA Executive Committee but, judging by the high interest shown in the latest bidding processes, that message is being heard loud and clear, from Switzerland to Vietnam and from Costa Rica to Tahiti.

This article is from the March edition of FIFA World, which can be read by clicking the link to the right.