Liverpool laments loss of World Cup
by Annie Byrne
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 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.