England and Spain/Portugal's 2018 World Cup bids have been ranked equally as 'low risk' overall by FIFA's inspectors but rivals Russia are 'medium risk', it can be revealed.
The executive summaries of the evaluation reports by FIFA's inspectors have been published today but they do not tell the whole story.
The 24 FIFA executive committee members who are voting on the 2018 and 2022 hosts have been provided with a confidential report judging 17 separate categories on risk - including overall operational risk.
Press Association Sport can reveal England, Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium have a 'low' overall operational risk while Russia are judged as 'medium'.
In further good news for England's bid, and the Iberian campaign, Russia's air transport plan is judged high risk - the only high risk mark for any of the 2018 bidders - while Holland/Belgium have nine of the 17 categories judged as medium.
Among the 2022 bidding countries, Qatar are given a high overall operational risk rating.
In the published summary of their report, FIFA's inspectors do not provide any overall risk rating but they have raised issues with all of the four bids for 2018. The concerns about England surround training camps, the number of contracted hotel rooms and training camp hotels.
Spain/Portugal are told they need a proper safety and security strategy.
The concerns about Russia's bid, also a "low legal risk", are regarding their transport plan, particularly in relation to air traffic, and is a much more costly and difficult issue to resolve in such a vast country.
Holland/Belgium are judged a "medium legal risk" as the necessary government guarantees have not been provided.
On England, the report states: "The bidder has not contracted the required number of venue-specific training sites or venue-specific team hotels," says the report.
"The fact that not many of the rooms have been contracted in full compliance with FIFA's template hotel agreement requires further analysis and potentially renegotiation. FIFA could be exposed to excessive pricing."
On Russia, the report says: "The country's vastness and its remoteness from other countries, coupled with the fact that the high speed rail network is limited... would put pressure on the air traffic infrastructure potentially causing transfer challenges.
"Any delay in the completion of transport projects could impact on FIFA's tournament operations and the proposed installation of temporary facilities could impose a high cost burden."
Spain/Portugal look to have the fewest criticisms, but the security issue is a serious one. The report states: "A clear operational concept has not been specified for safety and security."
Like Holland/Belgium, the inspectors state co-hosting represents a challenge.
In relation to the 2022 bids, the inspectors have warned that Qatar's searing summer heat could be a "potential health risk for players, officials, the FIFA family and spectators".
USA are a medium legal risk due to a lack of government guarantees, while inspectors say a World Cup in Australia, Japan or Korea would risk a reduction in European and American TV income.Reuse content