FIFA World Cup in Aus­tralia no great stretch

NT News - - CRICKET - DAVID WHITE

BACK in Septem­ber 1993, Aussies were do­ing hand­stands when Syd­ney was awarded the 2000 Olympic Games.

Bei­jing was the hot favourite to be awarded the Games of the XXVIIth Olympiad be­fore Juan An­to­nio Sa­ma­ranch an­nounced in Monte Carlo dur­ing the early hours of Septem­ber 24 that Aus­tralia would be host­ing the Olympic Games a sec­ond time.

That’s af­ter Mel­bourne had hosted the Games in 1956.

It was ex­cit­ing times, and it was a lit­tle hard to get back to sleep that night.

The Mil­len­nium Olympic Games or the Games of the New Mil­len­nium proved a smash hit.

Most will re­call the mo­ment when the ring of fire that Cathy Free­man ig­nited at ground level stalled on its jour­ney up- wards to meet the caul­dron at the top of the Olympic sta­dium at Home­bush.

Apart from that gl­itch and Mid­night Oil em­bar­rass­ing them­selves on the world stage dur­ing the clos­ing cer­e­mony, Sa­ma­ranch came out with the fol­low­ing be­fore the Olympic flame was ex­tin­guished.

“I am proud and happy to pro­claim that you have pre­sented to the world the best Olympic Games ever.”

With that in mind there shouldn’t be too many prob­lems when the Gold Coast hosts the XXIst Com­mon­wealth Games next year.

Last week in Lima, Peru, the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee an­nounced that Paris would be the host for the 2024 Olympics and that Los An­ge­les would stage the Games in 2028.

Both Paris and Los An­ge­les have hosted the Olympic Games twice in the past.

Paris in 1900 and 1924, with Los An­ge­les be­com­ing the cen­tre of the uni­verse in 1932 and 1984.

Paris and Los An­ge­les will be­come the sec­ond and third cities to host the Olympics for a third time.

Lon­don has had the hon­our in 1908, 1948 and 2012.

Af­ter host­ing the Games in 1964, Tokyo will be the venue in 2020.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, Ber­lin — the hosts in 1936 — were due to host the 1916 Olympics be­fore the in­ter­ven­tion of World War I and Tokyo were to stage the 1940 Games had it not been for World War II.

And al­though host­ing the Olympics in 1948, Lon­don was to be the venue in 1944. Host­ing the Olympic Games is not only an ex­pen­sive ex­er­cise th­ese days (just ask the good folk of Mon­treal), but it is also a big deal.

It makes you won­der if Mel­bourne and Syd­ney will ever get to host the Games again, and for Bris­bane and Gold Coast to join forces and stage the Olympics isn’t as silly as it sounds.

Could Ade­laide or Perth host an Olympic Games?

If Qatar can se­cure the 2022 FIFA World Cup fi­nals then any­thing is pos­si­ble.

Speak­ing of the FIFA World Cup fi­nals, five coun­tries have hosted the global event on two oc­ca­sions.

They in­clude Italy, France, Brazil, Mex­ico and Ger­many — al­beit it was West Ger­many (1974) and Ger­many (2006).

Hard to be­lieve that Eng­land hasn’t had the FIFA World Cup fi­nals on more than one oc­ca­sion. Ev­ery chance the “home of foot­ball” will get the chance as from 2026 with FIFA de­cid­ing to host a com­pe­ti­tion ac­com­mo­dat­ing 48 teams.

Cur­rently, 32 teams take part in the World Cup fi­nals — eight groups of four teams be­fore the knock­out stage.

Come 2026 there will be 16 groups of three teams with the top two teams from each group ad­vanc­ing to a 32-team knock­out stage.

Be­ing fair dinkum, how many coun­tries would be ca­pa­ble of host­ing the FIFA World Cup fi­nals with 48 teams?

A few Euro­pean coun­tries would cope — es­pe­cially Eng­land, Ger­many, Spain, Italy and France — and even the United States, who were the hosts in 1994.

How many Asian, African and South Amer­i­can coun­tries would cope?

FIFA does its best to en­sure that var­i­ous con­ti­nents host the World Cup fi­nals on a ro­ta­tional ba­sis.

That may not be pos­si­ble in the fu­ture un­less two coun­tries from the same con­ti­nent hosts the com­pe­ti­tion.

It seems cer­tain that Ar­gentina and Uruguay will host the FIFA World Cup fi­nals in 2030.

There is no doubt that Aus­tralia could host the FIFA World Cup fi­nals as we have fan­tas­tic sta­di­ums. ANZ Sta­dium, Al­lianz Sta­dium, MCG, Eti­had Sta­dium, Ade­laide Oval, Perth Sta­dium, Sun­corp Sta­dium, GIO Sta­dium, Cbus Su­per Sta­dium, McDon­ald Jones Sta­dium and Si­monds Sta­dium.

If it came to the crunch and Aus­tralia had to share the FIFA World Cup fi­nals with New Zealand that wouldn’t be a prob­lem as there are a host of qual­ity of sta­di­ums across the ditch.

Aus­tralia and New Zealand have hosted the ICC World Cup on two oc­ca­sions in the past (1992 and 2015) with­out a prob­lem, so would host­ing the big­gest soc­cer tour­na­ment in the world be an is­sue?

Fi­nally, Aus­tralia was also the venue for the 2003 IRB World Cup (rugby union) and it went off with­out a hitch.

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