Spain and Portugal fear FIFA distaste for joint bid

Madrid: Good food and accommodation, warm weather, modern stadiums and a century of soccer tradition are all sound reasons to hold the 2018 World Cup in Spain and Portugal, the two nations` officials say.

Stacked against their joint bid, though, is FIFA`s apparent reluctance to stage global soccer`s premier competition across two countries.

A FIFA technical report published last week noted that co-hosting "could pose terms of ensuring consistent standards and implementation in various areas such as legal, IT, frequencies, safety and security."

Angel Maria Villar, president of the Spanish soccer federation and a FIFA vice president, acknowledged the reservations expressed in the report but said FIFA president Sepp Blatter did not personally oppose joint bids.

"The president the very person who has noted that any reservations about a joint bid can be addressed," he said in an interview published in Spain`s Marca sports daily on Friday. "Blatter has never opposed it."

The World Cup has only once been split between two hosts, when Japan and South Korea shared the task in 2002.

The Spanish feel their triumph at this year`s World Cup in South Africa deserves reward.

They also argue that they have the necessary expertise, having hosted the tournament in 1982, while Portugal was the venue for the 2004 European Championship.

Both countries have some impressive stadiums such as the Nou Camp in Barcelona, the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid and Portugal`s finest in Lisbon and Porto.

New stadiums are being built in Valencia and Madrid while others are at the drawing-board stage in Bilbao and Zaragoza.

Bid chief executive Miguel Angel Lopez said publicly this week that he believed the bid would attract at least eight votes in the first round of the executive committee poll, leaving him moderately confident of winning against England, Russia and another joint bid, Netherlands/Belgium.

Bureau Report