FIFA says England World Cup could clash with Wimbledon

Geneva: England’s bid to stage football’s World Cup in 2018 may suffer from a possible clash with the historic Wimbledon tennis tournament in June to July, according to FIFA’s technical evaluation.

“It is a FIFA requirement that no other major sporting event is hosted in a Host City during the event period and the fact that the Wimbledon tennis championships take place in London during late June/early July could have an impact on the public attention given to the FIFA World Cup,” the evaluation report said.

Dates for football’s month-long showpiece event in 2018 have not been set but they have typically straddled those two months when it has been hosted by European countries.

Wimbledon, the world’s oldest tennis tournament, has been staged since 1877 over a two-week period in late June and early July.

The report was published by world football’s governing body two weeks before British Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William are expected to join David Beckham in a high-profile final pitch by England against other bidders in Zurich.

FIFA’s technical evaluation team found that England’s stadiums exceeded minimum requirements and highlighted the country’s experience with hosting international sports events as well as transport links.

However, they raised technical questions about the readiness of training sites and contractual issues over accommodation.

England, Russia and joint bids by Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium are in the running to host the 2018 World Cup.

Australia, the United States, Japan, Qatar and South Korea are bidding for the 2022 event.

The hosts of both tournaments will be chosen simultaneously by FIFA’s executive committee in Zurich on December 2.

Bureau Report