FIFA has received a total of 11 formal expressions of interest to bid for the 2018 and/or the 2022 FIFA World Cups™ by the established deadline of 2 February 2009. The member associations that have confirmed their interest in hosting FIFA's flagship competition are, in alphabetical order: Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands, England, Indonesia, Japan, Korea Republic, Mexico, Qatar, Russia, Spain and Portugal, and the USA.
"It is remarkable that so many high-quality contenders have expressed an initial interest in hosting our flagship competition," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. "Our world is one that is rich in natural beauty and cultural diversity, but also one where many are still deprived of their basic rights, or have to deal with the daily realities of conflict. FIFA now has an even greater responsibility to reach out and touch the world, using football as a symbol of hope and integration.
"The current worldwide economic crisis has brought another dimension of uncertainty into the lives of many people around the world. Football has an extraordinary power to unite people, as well as an ability to inspire emotions of hope, passion and joy.
"This is even more true when it comes to the FIFA World Cup, a truly global competition. For this reason, FIFA has asked the potential bidders to ensure that this power of football is used to urge solidarity and achieve positive change in the world; an opportunity to contribute to making a difference to people's lives, in line with our claim: For the Game. For the World.
"The bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be keenly contested and FIFA is eager to ensure that fair play prevails. For that reason, the FIFA Ethics Committee will be involved in the proceedings."
FIFA will now send the Bid Registration form on 16 February to the member associations which have formally expressed their interest to bid for the 2018 and the 2022 FIFA World Cups.
More details about the bidding process itself, the calendar and the conditions can be found in the circular letter, which can be accessed through the link on the right-hand panel of this article.