2018/22 bids take shape
The USA 2018/22 bid has recently stepped up a gear with the confirmation of the 18 bid cities. This is the maximum they were allowed to submit. Within this, there are 21 stadiums, with 2 stadiums for Los Angeles (including the Rose Bowl, which is strictly in Pasadena), Seattle and Dallas (including the Cowboys Stadium, which is strictly in Arlington). As well as the Rose Bowl, the venue for the 1994 Final and largest stadium in the bid, the only other 1994 venue to have survived is the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, with Soldier Field (Chicago), RFK Stadium (Washington DC), Citrus Bowl (Orlando) and Stanford Stadium (San Francisco) not being selected (although it is worth remembering that the stadiums in Gillette Stadium in Foxborough/Boston and Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford/New York have replaced or will directly replace 1994 venues – both are on the bid). The US bid thus has 7 80,000+ seater stadiums (i.e. capable of hosting the Final), more than all the other bids put together at this stage.
I’ve also discovered more information about the stadiums in the joint Belgium-Netherlands bid. This will include brand new stadiums in Antwerp, Bruges, Charleroi and Liege and a possible large upgrade for the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, if not a totally new national stadium in the capital. These are complimented by the already-planned Nieuwe Kuip in Rotterdam, which is to go ahead regardless as a new home for Feyenoord. The Dutch city is one of two cities in the country to have been awarded two venues – apparently the plan is to keep open the old Kuip, which hosted the Euro 2000 Final, until 2018, as opposed to upgrading Sparta Rotterdam’s Het Kasteel stadium as I had earlier presumed. The second stadium in Amsterdam is the Olympisch Stadion – this has been restored to its original condition in recent years, so any modifications will be temporary. In fact, temporary modifications seem to be a theme for the bid, with several stadiums being expanded temporarily for the tournament – good news for those who criticise host nations who build massive white elephant stadiums that will never be filled by clubs and will be difficult to afford to maintain. For me, they are now contenders, although their average capacity is still down on England’s.
South Korea’s host cities have been confirmed as well. On top of the 10 stadiums from 2002, there are 4 additions, with already-built stadiums in Goyang, Cheonan, Cheongju and Pohang – the latter 3 will need expanding to reach the 40,000 limit, though, as will whichever stadium is chosen to host the Final.
Still no confirmation of the Australian, Iberian, Japanese or Qatari selections. Summaries of the bids can be found in the new 2018/22 bids page.