Bidders hoping to land FIFA's other World Cups
© Foto-net

The home stretch is now in sight for the various nations bidding to organise FIFA's other World Cups, due to be held between 2013 and 2015. Candidates for the FIFA U-17 and FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups in 2014, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™ and the 2013 and 2015 editions of both the FIFA U-17 World Cup and FIFA U-20 World Cup were required to submit their Bid Books to FIFA by 11 February. Those documents will now be evaluated by FIFA’s Executive Committee, with the successful bidders to be named on 2 and 3 March.

This week, delegations from three nations hoping to organise one of the tournaments paid a visit to the headquarters of world football’s governing body to present their official bids. Each delegation met with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter to communicate their determination.

“Our meeting with President Blatter went very well,” said Canada’s Minister of Sports, Gary Lunn. “We spoke about our mutual passion for sport and football’s capacity to change people’s lives for the better.

“We’re very confident about our chances of hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015. The Canadian Soccer Association has put in considerable work and has the total support of the government. That’s a crucial factor when you want to host events like this.”

“In addition, women’s football is really on the rise in Canada,” he added. “Our women’s team is playing very well at the moment. They just won the Women’s Gold Cup and have moved up several places in the FIFA Ranking. That’s a good omen ahead of the 2011 World Cup in Germany and why not the World Cup on home soil in Canada in 2015 too?”

As for New Zealand, they are hoping to land the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015 after a positive experience hosting the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2008.

“Organising that tournament in 2008 has given us a lot of confidence,” said the Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand Football Association, Michael Glading. “The image of women’s football has improved considerably and it’s now one of the most important activities among young women.

“The New Zealand team performed honourably at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. That caught the attention of a lot of young people in the country and hosting the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2015 would only accentuate that.

“What’s more,” he added, ”the next Rugby World Cup will be held in New Zealand in September, and that’s made it possible to develop the infrastructure in our country to a certain standard. Because of that, organising this tournament would be well within our reach.”

For many countries, holding a FIFA tournament is a means of promoting themselves to the entire world, while the host nation is also guaranteed a leap forward in terms of football development, education and infrastructure.

Those advantages certainly appeal to Uzbekistan, which is bidding for both the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013 and FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2014. “It’s an honour for Uzbekistan to be a candidate to host FIFA's other World Cups, said Uzbekistan Football Federation (UFF) representative Alisher Nikimbaev. “If we were selected as host of one of these competitions, it would be a dream come true for our nation.

“We don’t have a tradition of organising international competitions but we feel that the time is finally right. We hope to start hosting these FIFA competitions and then one day why not the FIFA World Cup itself and other major tournaments? We’re proud of our Bid Book; we put an immense amount of work into it. We also enjoy the considerable support of Islom Karimov, the President of Uzbekistan.

“At the moment, the development of football in our country is progressing. We have four stadiums under construction and the game is in very good health. Our national team just achieved fourth place at the Asian Cup for the first time in its history. All these factors fill us with hope.”

Uzbekistan and their fellow bidders will discover their fate in Zurich on 2 and 3 March.