Handover of official bids: Reactions
© AFP

The nine candidates competing to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups™ were present at the home of FIFA today, Friday 14 May 2010, to hand over their official Bid Books.

In accordance with the process laid out in the attached circular, the delegations of Australia, England, Netherlands/Belgium, Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar, Russia, Spain/Portugal and USA were in attendance in Zurich to submit their bids, which included signed Hosting Agreements and all other hosting documents (incorporated in the Bid Book as an annexe).

“I would like to congratulate all of the candidates. I'm happy to note that every bid has the full backing of its respective government. It is crucial to have these guarantees in place beforehand. It's a competition, just like a football match, and on 2 December the decision will be made at the conclusion of deliberations by the FIFA Executive Committee. I wish each candidate the best of luck, although as we know, there can only be one winner,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.

A representative from each delegation then presented their country’s dossier to the FIFA President before the press, and was subsequently given the opportunity to deliver a short address to FIFA and the world’s media. Below are some of the delegations’ comments, in order of candidates’ appearances on stage:

Frank Lowy, Australia, Chairman of the Australian Football Association
“We’re proud to be presenting our bid here today. We have the unified support of the nation behind it, and we're ready to host the biggest sporting event in the world. This is great news for football and great news for the whole country as everyone will benefit if we win the right to host a World Cup. Today marks an important day for football in Australia and a crucial milestone in the World Cup bidding process.”

David Beckham, England, England 2018 Vice-president
Thank you for the chance to be here today and to be involved in this bid. As you will see in our Bid Book, we have a lot of passion for the game and for bringing the biggest sporting event in the world to our country. As a player, you always dream of playing in a World Cup in your own country. I’m here on behalf of the fans – football runs through our veins.”

Ruud Gullit, Netherlands, President of Netherlands/Belgium Bid
“I’m proud to be presenting our bid and proud that we are in the running for staging the biggest sporting event on the planet. Both countries wish to demonstrate their potential, which is why we have laid out seven specific goals in our Bid Book. When I was a boy, I myself followed World Cups on television. I have an eight-year-old son – I would love to give him the chance to attend an event like this in person, because it truly is an incredible occasion.”

Motoaki Inukai, Japan, Chairman of the Japanese Football Association
“I firmly believe that our bid is totally unique. It’s not just a case of us wanting to host another World Cup after the one we held in 2002 – we would like to produce a tournament with a smile. In 2002, the World Cup cheered us all up, and we would love to return the favour in 2022. Via this event, we’re aiming to bring the world a little bit closer together, putting a smile on everyone’s face in the process!”

Sung-joo Han, Korea Republic, Chairman of the 2018/2022 Korea Republic Bid Committee
“We have worked extremely hard to be able to present the perfect bid here today. The whole nation is behind our efforts. Staging the 2022 FIFA World Cup would give a real boost to the Korean people, who have in the past fought to uphold peace and progress. If you give us this chance, we will deliver a flawless, peaceful World Cup that will leave a lasting impression on the world, on FIFA’s behalf.”

His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar, Chairman of the Qatar 2022 Bid Committee
“We are delighted to be here; it’s a unique opportunity for us. We have complete confidence in our bid. We consider it a great privilege to be representing the Middle East – it’s a first for the region. If we are awarded the World Cup, rest assured that the imprint left on our area of the world would be everlasting. In the same way that the World Cup is set to open its doors to Africa later this year, we hope that they will open to the Middle East in 2022.” 

Igor Shuvalov, Russia, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
“This is an important day for Russia. Within our Bid Book we have not only provided all of the relevant information requested by FIFA, but we have also explored the very future of our nation. In hosting the World Cup, it is our entire country as well as our football that would make progress. And with all due respect to the other candidates, I am convinced that only Russia can succeed. We mention in our bid the 13 potential host cites we have selected – all of them are ready to stage the tournament. Be it in 2018 or in 2022, we aim to show the new, modern face of Russia to the world.”

Angel Maria Villar-Llona, Spain/Portugal, President of the Spanish Football Association
“I'm very happy to submit our ‘Iberian’ Bid Book and I can assure you that, should we be successful, you will witness the most joyful, most efficiently organised and safest World Cup in the event’s history. The perfect unity between the Portuguese and Spanish peoples, economies, governments and Football Associations makes our bid one of the strongest in the running. I can guarantee that, if we are awarded the competition, we will not fail.”

Sunil Gulati, United States of America, President of the United States Soccer Federation
“The first time I ever came to FIFA’s headquarters was in 1984, and since then, much has changed. Since the World Cup that we hosted, we have achieved a lot of great things – I would call it a good first half, so to speak. But for me, the second half starts right now, and I hope it will be as productive as the first. Should we be awarded the World Cup, we are in a position to not only provide state-of-the-art stadiums and modern infrastructure, but also to be able to leave an enduring impression on American soccer.”