It was very pleasing to hear today that all the football codes have agreed in relation to grounds and Australia’s World Cup bids for 2018 and 2022, what has been disappointing is that it has taken so long. It has become abundantly clear that certain codes have viewed this merely as an opportunity to make money out of another code and at the same time get their stadia upgraded.
What was equally disappointing with the announcement today, was the fact that Adelaide Oval, the MCG and Subiaco Oval are all pencilled in as being venues for the World Cup should the bid be successful.
The MCG is going to require some serious work as currently it does not meet the FIFA criteria, as the pitch is too far away from the spectators. FIFA have a set distance that is acceptable for tournaments such as this. It also has a bearing on the television as well.
Subiaco is currently the only option in Perth, unless a new stadium is built, but this seems a strange choice when a FFA spokesperson two years ago stated that they would never play another game at Subiaco oval ‘as it is a disaster for watching football and looks terrible on television.’
It would be magnificent to see the World Cup in Australia, but after the problems that South Africa has had being ready on time, and the lack of appropriate stadia, Australia has a tough job convincing all of the members of the confederations that it is their turn. Especially when they read that one of the grounds is a cricket ground and two of the others are “ovals.”
There is no doubt that Europe will win 2018, and this looks to be a two horse race between England and Russia, with the latter in with a strong chance, due to some of the powers that be having a dislike of England for a myriad of reasons, some harking back to colonial times.
Frank Lowy is determined to plough on with the bid for 2018, as on the 22nd of October this year he will turn 80, in 2018 he will be 88, four years on 92. There is no doubt he would love to witness a World Cup in Australia in his lifetime, and that is the motivation, to see a life’s dream come to fruition. The Politics in football are far more complex, and it will take unbelievable manoeuvring and politicking to win the votes required to win the bid in either year, but one can’t help feeling that there is still a great deal of work to be done, especially if three venues are ovals used for cricket or the sport we don’t mention.