England enjoy bid boost
2018 bid ranked 'low risk' while rivals Russia seen as 'medium risk'
Last Updated: 17/11/10 1:07pm
England 2018: Rivalling Russia
England's 2018 World Cup bid has been handed a boost after being ranked as 'low risk' while rivals Russia are seen as 'medium risk'.
The executive summaries of the evaluation reports by Fifa inspectors were published on Wednesday.
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.
And England, as well as the joint bids by Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium, are seen as having a 'low' overall operational risk.
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.
FIFA's inspectors have raised issues with all of the four bids for 2018, with concerns about England focused on training camps, the number of contracted hotel rooms and training camp hotels, while 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.
"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 adds: "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.
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.