Japan World Cup bid very balanced: FIFA
A FIFA team praised Japan’s 2022 World Cup bid for its balance between old and new, environmental awareness and a high-tech approach, including a plan for 3-D match telecasts.
The group of inspectors from football’s governing body made the comments as they wrapped up a four-day visit to Japan, the first leg of their two-month tour of nine candidates vying to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
‘We must say that the bid is a very balanced project, mixing football traditions, modern stadiums plus new technology with eco projects and integration with the world,’ said the team’s leader, Harold Mayne-Nicholls.
Mayne-Nicholls, the Chilean Football Federation president, also told a news conference that his five-member team had realised anew the ‘professionalism’ with which football has been developed in Japan.
The team, including FIFA event management chief Juergen Mueller and marketing head David Fowler, next visits South Korea, Australia, joint bidders Netherlands-Belgium, Russia, England, Spain-Portugal, the United States and Qatar.
It will draw up a technical report on the bids for FIFA’s 24 executives, who on December 2 in Zurich are due to choose the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Japan, South Korea, Australia and Qatar, all members of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), have submitted bids for 2022 only, while the others are campaigning for both — amid growing expectations Europe will get the 2018 edition after Brazil in 2014.
Japan’s bid features a six-billion-dollar ‘Universal Fan Fest’ project to allow 360 million people worldwide to view matches live in three-dimensional telecasts at nearly 400 select stadiums in FIFA’s 208 member countries.
The games will be shown on giant screens at the stadiums and, pending anticipated technological development in the years ahead, may even be projected like real matches on to the pitch itself.
‘Japan is leading the world in developing such technology,’ said Japan Football Association president and bid committee chief Motaki Inukai.
He added that the FIFA inspectors were shown several interim sample gadgets for 3-D public viewing at a presentation earlier Thursday.
Another highlight of Japan’s bid is a plan to invite 6,000 children from the 208 countries to watch matches, participate in football clinics and learn about environmental issues and world peace with trips to the atomic-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan hosted a dinner for the FIFA team and confirmed his government’s full support for the bid.
‘A considerable number of political and business leaders attended the dinner, which was very pleasant and cordial,’ Inukai said. ‘We could show the team members our nationwide wish to invite the 2022 World Cup.’
The FIFA inspectors spent the first half of the visit in the western city of Osaka where they saw the site for an 83,000-seat solar-powered stadium, tentatively called Osaka Ecology Stadium, which would be used for the opening match and the final in 2022.
‘We are lucky for being first up on the list,’ said Japan Football Association general secretary Kohzo Tashima. ‘They could tour here when they still felt fresh and were full of energy.’
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