How World Cup 2018 bid works

Tomorrow England will learn whether years of lobbying and some late schmoozing have paid off

Q&A
Q. How is the bidding contest decided?
A.By a vote among the executive committee (ExCo) of world governing body Fifa, in Zurich tomorrow.

Q. How does the vote work?
A.The 23 ExCo members cast their votes in a secret ballot. If no bidder wins a majority, the country with the fewest votes is eliminated and another round is held.

Q. Do we have any idea how they will vote?
A.Spain/Portugal think they have eight votes in the bag already but are not expected to get a majority in the first round. Holland/Belgium almost certain to drop out first; after that, it’s too close to predict.

Q. When will we know the outcome?
A.Results are expected to be announced tomorrow at around 3:45pm GMT.

ENGLAND (odds 2/1 at Paddy Power)

PROs
The best stadia, strong transport and corporate facilities and great spectator demand mean it is best placed of all bidders to provide a profitable, successful tournament. Prince William’s lobbying in Zurich is sure to impress.

CONS
Has few allies within Fifa’s corridors of power, and fewer still after the country’s media accused six members of the executive committee of serious corruption. It won’t help that three of them are among their best chance of votes.

VERDICT: Looks doomed but huge final push

RUSSIA (8/11)

PROs
Premier Vladimir Putin has thrown his weight, and a sizeable budget, firmly behind the bid, which is said to have impressed voters. Also has the advantage of promising to grow football in a market that remains relatively untapped.

CONS
Putin won’t make it to Zurich this week. A vast amount of work on construction and infrastructure would have to be undertaken – a complicated and eye-wateringly costly project to deliver. Huge distances between venues don’t make for a fan-friendly experience.

VERDICT: Has some powerful supporters

SPAIN & PORTUGAL (7/2)

PROs
Can argue that Spain’s status as European Champions and World Cup holders – and globally popular ones at that – merit its hosting of the tournament. Well equipped in terms of stadia and facilities and has many reliable friends within the committee.

CONS
Was implicated in a vote-swapping scandal with 2022 hopefuls Qatar, but has ridden it out after insufficient evidence was found. Dire economic situations of Spain and Portugal raise questions over whether funding is in place for the event.

VERDICT: Strong bid sure to be well backed

HOLLAND & BELGIUM (33-1)

PROs
Premiers of both countries have flown to Zurich to lend extra gravitas to their bid, which boasts of being clean, green and sustainable. Strong heritage, particularly in Holland, runners-up at this year’s World Cup and inventors of Total Football.

CONS
A few solar panels are unlikely to impress Exco members, however worthy an argument it may be, while the bid is not outstanding in other aspects. Lobbying efforts have also been criticised, while the notion of two small countries jointly hosting is largely untried.

VERDICT: Tipped to be bumped in first round