Liverpool laments loss of World Cup

Liverpool is lamenting the
loss of up to £200m as a result of FIFA’s decision to award the 2018 World Cup
to Russia
.

The
city, one of several candidate cities put forward as potential hosts, lost out
on the chance to stage the event, with Anfield a selected
venue.

A
successful bid could have been worth as much as £200m to the Liverpool economy, according to local reports.

FIFA’s
decision, which saw England
finish last despite a bid that prompted bookies around the UK to mark England as favourites to host the 2018 event,
prompted speculation that UK
media criticism of FIFA (CN) had put
the kybosh on the UK’s
bid.

But
whatever the cause, FIFA President Sepp Blatter yesterday awarded the
competition to Russia, which
beat England and joint bids from
Portugal-Spain and the Netherlands-Belgium, for the 2018 event.
Qatar beat off bids from the
US, Japan, South Korea and Australia for
the 2022 edition.

According to some
US commentators, the total national economic value of
hosting the tournament is worth about
US$5bn. FIFA’s decision is expected to speed up Russia’s
infrastructure development and boost
shares of airlines and steelmakers, though it could cost billions of dollars to
achieve.

Liverpool Council’s cabinet member for culture and sport, Cllr Wendy Simon, told
the Liverpool Daily Post that while she feels a “deep sense of
disappointment” about the
outcome, the city’s efforts were not
for nothing.

“We
can take great pride in making a huge contribution to what was universally
acknowledged to be an excellent technical bid. The work that has gone into the
bid process will not be wasted,” she said. Among other initiatives, the city’s
proposals included the creation of two “fan fest” sites, as well as green
transport and mass participation football programmes.

Roger
Hunt and Ian Callaghan, members of
the 1966 World Cup winning squad, also told the Liverpool Daily Post that they
were disappointed. “We’re probably the strongest football country in the world.
We have fabulous football and fabulous stadiums in this country. It would have
been the icing on the cake to have the World Cup to look forward to,” said
Hunt.

Director of Marketing at VisitBritain, Laurence Bresh, said it is not
all bad news for Britain. “We will remain a dream
destination for international sports fans thanks to our annual calendar of world
class sporting events,” he commented.

In
addition to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Bresh said Britain is preparing to host a whole
series of prestige sporting celebrations which have the potential to further
boost tourism numbers and showcase Britain to the world. These include the
Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the
Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014, the 2015 Rugby World Cup at venues across
England and the Cricket World Cup in
2019.

“We
have some of the world’s great
cathedrals of sport such as Wembley, Lords, Wimbledon, the Millennium Stadium,
Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford, and Hampden Park, and a remarkably varied sporting
calendar which will attract visitors from around the world over the next decade
and beyond,” he added.

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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