Spain and Portugal join for World Cup bid

Spain and Portugal have formally agreed to submit a joint bid to rival England's for the 2018 World Cup. The combined approach has been mooted for more than a year and was finally confirmed two weeks ago.

Portugal's football federation president Gilberto Madail and his Spanish counterpart Angel Maria Villar Llona yesterday signed an official agreement in Lisbon. Fifa, the world governing body, has issued a deadline of 2 February for letters of interest to be submitted and Madail told the Portuguese news agency Lusa: "This is an important day, the day we decide to go ahead and present a bid to Fifa."

Spain and Portugal will be tough rivals for England as they can expect full support from the three South American representatives on Fifa's 24-man executive committee, who will make the decision in December 2010.

Other countries bidding are Australia, and there is another joint bid from Belgium/Netherlands. Russia, China, Qatar, the United States and Japan may also enter the contest for 2018 or 2022. Fifa's executive committee announced last month there would be a simultaneous bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

The news comes days after England's 2018 bid leaders took steps to avoid the pitfall that affected the failed campaign for the 2006 World Cup by hiring one of those behind South Africa's success in landing the tournament in 2010.

Ian Riley, a South African, has been hired as technical bid director, a key role given the furore over England's failed attempt for 2006 when it was placed third behind Germany and South Africa by Fifa's technical inspection team. Riley fulfilled a similar role for South Africa's successful campaign, no easy task given that all their stadiums needed revamping or building from scratch. He has also been involved in advising on the organisation of the tournament in South Africa, in talks with Fifa on the 2010 budget and the hosting agreement. A statement from England 2018 said: "The technical bid will be England 2018 Ltd's response to Fifa's list of requirements for the hosting of the 2018 World Cup and puts forward England's compelling argument to host the event.

"Ian was previously the tournament director of the 20th African Cup of Nations that was successfully hosted in South Africa as well as being a member of the CAF Media Committee and a Fifa marketing instructor."

Spain/Portugal and England are just two of 10 bidders for the 2018 World Cup. Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, expects tough competition for the right to host the event. "We already have 10 potential bidders," Blatter said. "If we go from west to east we have Mexico, United States, Spain together with Portugal, England, a joint bid from the Netherlands and Belgium, I do hope Russia [will bid], Japan, Qatar, China and Australia."

South Africa will host the 2010 World Cup and Brazil is due to stage the tournament in 2014. Speaking in Russia, Blatter said: "I definitely expect Russia to be a candidate to host the World Cup either in 2018 or 2022."

Alexei Sorokin, general director of the Russian FA, said officials had yet to make up their mind about submitting a formal bid. "We haven't sent an official letter to Fifa yet as we're still waiting for the government to formally endorse our bid," Sorokin said.

It is the first time Fifa has adopted a simultaneous bidding process for two events – the 2018 and 2022 World Cups – which will be awarded in December next year.

News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence