Bay Area Could Figure in US World Cup Bid

FIFA kicked off the bidding process Thursday to stage the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
FIFA has set a Feb. 2 deadline for potential hosts to register their interest at the start of a two-year process combining the bidding for both tournaments. The two hosts will be chosen by FIFA's 24-man executive committee in December 2010.

Candidates must provide about 12 stadiums holding at least 40,000 fans for group matches, with one stadium of at least 80,000 capacity to stage the opening match and the final.

FIFA said Thursday that "the very highest standards of TV broadcasting, information and telecommunications technology, transport and accommodation are an absolute must" for applicants to meet.

The requirements and timetable have been sent to all eligible member national associations.

Countries confirmed to bid for hosting in 2018 are Australia, England, Qatar and Russia, plus joint bids from Belgium-Netherlands-Luxembourg and Spain-Portugal.

Other bids are expected from the United States, China, Japan, Mexico and Canada.

Bid registrations forms go out Feb. 16, and are due March 16. Potential hosts can apply for either the 2018 or the 2022 World Cups, or for both.

No South American country can apply for either tournament because Brazil is hosting the 2014 tournament.

African countries can only bid for the 2022 event because South Africa is hosting in 2010.

A total of 145 countries are eligible to host the 2018 edition, with 198 possible applicants for 2022.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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