The 2014 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in South America. On March 7, 2003 FIFA announced that the tournament would be held in South America for the first time since Argentina hosted the 1978 FIFA World Cup, in line with its policy of rotating the right to host the World Cup amongst different confederations.
The official bidding procedure for CONMEBOL member associations was opened in December 2006, and the FIFA Executive Committee is scheduled to reach a decision on the host country in November 2007.
On June 3, 2003, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) announced that Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia wanted to host the 2014 World Cup finals. By March 17, 2004, the CONMEBOL associations had voted unanimously to adopt Brazil as their sole candidate. Since then, Brazil formally declared its candidacy in December 2006 but Colombia did so as well a few days later.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has also confirmed that candidates from other continents would be considered should no South American bid meet FIFA's expected level of quality.
Brazil is the leading candidate and officially launched its bid to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup on December 13, 2006. Ricardo Teixeira, the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, signed the letter of candidacy in Tokyo in the presence of CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz and CONMEBOL general secretary Eduardo De Luca.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter himself said on July 4, 2006 that the 2014 World Cup would probably be held in the country. On September 28, he met with the Brazilian President Lula and was quoted as saying he wants the country to prove its capabilities before making a decision. "But the ball is on Brazil's court now," he said.
On April 13, 2006, after visiting stadia in Rio de Janeiro, SÃ£o Paulo, and Porto Alegre, Blatter acknowledged that the country did not have any stadia for the Cup.
Potential host cities are already preparing for the tournament. On 12 January 2007, Ricardo Teixeira visited the governor of BrasÃlia and told him the Federal District would be one of the host cities in case Brazil is chosen to host the World Cup. In the same meeting, the governor disclosed his intentions of restoring the old EstÃ¡dio ManÃ© Garrincha for the competition. The capacity would be extended to 75,000, allowing the ground the host both the inaugural match and the final.
Porto Alegre newspaper Zero Hora ran a report on 16 July 2006 mentioning that Rio de Janeiro, SÃ£o Paulo, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte are almost certain as host cities in case Brazil is appointed to host the World Cup . However, since FIFA stipulates a minimum of eight and a maximum of ten host cities, there are many other likely venues for World Cup matches. Zero Hora mentioned FlorianÃ³polis, whose EstÃ¡dio Orlando Scarpelli, owned by Figueirense Futebol Clube, will likely be remodelled with the aim to host World Cup matches, as well as a few cities in the Centre, North and North-East, such as Fortaleza, Salvador, Recife, BelÃ©m and GoiÃ¢nia.
Brazil hosted the 1950 World Cup and has hosted the Copa AmÃ©rica four times (1919, 1922, 1949, and 1989).
Stadia that could host World Cup matches
In September 2006, Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said: â€œWe donâ€™t have any stadium which is in a condition to host World Cup games. Weâ€™re going to have to build at least 12 new stadiums in this country.â€
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Based on city size and existing stadiums, these are the twelve locations that have the potential for renovation or reconstruction:
MaracanÃ£, Rio de Janeiro
Morumbi, SÃ£o Paulo
MineirÃ£o, Belo Horizonte
Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
EstÃ¡dio OlÃmpico Monumental, Porto Alegre
EstÃ¡dio ManÃ© Garrincha, BrasÃlia
Kyocera Arena, Curitiba
EstÃ¡dio Orlando Scarpelli, FlorianÃ³polis
Serra Dourada, GoiÃ¢nia
EstÃ¡dio MangueirÃ£o, BelÃ©m
Fonte Nova, Salvador
EstÃ¡dio do Arruda, Recife
Colombia formally declared its candidacy on December 18, 2006. The president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, had already announced on July 15 of the same year that Colombia would submit a bid.  During his speech at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, Uribe said: "By seeing how things were done to organise these Games, I think Colombia is capable of hosting a football World Cup. I'm sure we will achieve it and will do it very well." Uribe has put Vice President Francisco Santos CalderÃ³n in charge of the project. Colombia had been set to be the host of the 1986 World Cup but withdrew to the benefit of Mexico because of economic issues, disagreements with FIFA, and concerns about the unstable situation in Colombia at the time. Colombia has hosted the Copa AmÃ©rica once (2001). However, on February 27, 2007 Blatter appeared to discard any Colombian chances of hosting the event when he said that the Colombian bid was little more than a symbolic gesture which had the advantage of taking attention away from its drugs and crime problems. "Colombia is more of a public relations presentation of the country to say that we are alive not only in other headlines but also in football," Blatter said.
Estadio Metropolitano, Barranquilla, 60,000
Estadio Deportivo Cali, Cali, 58,000
Estadio Atanasio Girardot, MedellÃn, 53,000
Estadio Pascual Guerrero, Cali, 50,000
Nemesio Camacho "El Campin", BogotÃ¡, 49,000
Estadio General Santander, CÃºcuta, 45,000
Estadio Palogrande, Manizales, 42,000
Estadio Centenario, Armenia, 33,000
Estadio Manuel Murillo Toro, IbaguÃ©, 31,000
Estadio Hernan Ramirez Villegas, Pereira, 31,000
Estadio Alfonso Lopez, Bucaramanga, 25,000
Estadio Departamental Libertad, Pasto, 25,000
Estadio Eduardo Santos, Santa Marta, 23,000
Estadio Guillermo Plazas Alcid, Neiva, 22,000
Estadio OlÃmpico Pedro de Heredia, Cartagena de Indias, 14,000
Estadio Polideportivo Sur, Envigado, 12,000
Estadio La Independencia, Tunj, 10,000
Other Possible South American Bids
It was suggested that Argentina and Chile could launch a joint bid but later reports suggest it unlikely. On the topic of co-hosting, Blatter advised that FIFA would prefer a single candidate which fulfilled the requirements. Argentina hosted the 1978 World Cup and has hosted the Copa AmÃ©rica eight times (1916, 1921, 1925, 1929, 1937, 1946, 1959, and 1987). Chile hosted the 1962 World Cup and has hosted the Copa AmÃ©rica six times (1920, 1926, 1941, 1945, 1955, and 1991). Argentina's chances have recently improved, however, as Brazil's president Luiz InÃ¡cio Lula da Silva admitted that his country was not ready to host the 2014 World Cup. According to Argentine media, FIFA has subsequently contacted the Argentine Football Association (AFA). The AFA's president, Julio Grondona, responded that hosting the event would be "an honour for [his] country."
As of 2006, Venezuela has no stadium with the required minimum capacity of 40,000, but in the upcoming years, seven arenas with these sizes are to be built. This could make Venezuela a potential candidate.
Possible Bids From Other Continents
Although the continental rotation ensures that South America will host the 2014 World Cup, the following bids were mentioned:
South Australian premier Mike Rann put forward a proposal for Australia to host the 2014 event. He was backed by Prime Minister John Howard who said that Australia has proven it can host world sporting events. Football Federation Australia President, Frank Lowy who has also expressed considerable interest in the proposal and is amid negotiations to formally put forward Australia's hosting proposal. Australia is now part of the Asian Football Confederation which has not hosted since 2002, having in January 2006 left the Oceania Football Confederation which has never hosted. Despite Australia's large number of capable stadiums (because of Melbourne and Sydney's recent Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games) and its good performance at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, many believe Australia may have to wait until 2018 or later before it will stand a chance of hosting. Australia hosted the OFC Nations Cup twice (1998, and 2004), and four-way co-hosted once (1996).
Despite its population of just over 20 million, Australia is well catered for with respect to stadiums, many which have been recently re-developed and upgraded.
Available stadia include:
Melbourne Cricket Ground (Melbourne - 102,000)
Telstra Stadium (Sydney - 90,000)
Telstra Dome (Melbourne - 56,000)
AAMI Stadium (Adelaide - 53,000)
Suncorp Stadium (Brisbane - 50,000)
Subiaco Oval (Perth - 48,000)
Sydney Cricket Ground (Sydney - 45,000)
Wooloongabba Cricket Ground (The 'Gabba)(Brisbane - 40,000).
However, current FIFA policy mandates that only one city can have two stadiums hosting matches in a given World Cup. Considering the extreme concentration of Australia's major stadiums in its state capital cities, this policy may be a severe stumbling block to a potential Australian bid.
The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) has expressed interest since the 2002 FIFA World Cup to offer a bid for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Given the support soccer now has in the U.S., USSF now Immediate Past President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia is confident that the U.S. can put together a very strong bid. The United States hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup, plus the 1999 and 2003 Women's World Cups (the latter on short notice, as original host China was forced to relinquish hosting duties due to the SARS outbreak in that country). The U.S. has also hosted the Gold Cup all eight times it has been contested, serving as sole host six times (1991, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2005) and cohost with Mexico twice (1993, 2003). The U.S. will be sole host again in 2007.
The U.S. has no shortage of stadiums that could host a World Cup with little or no renovation. For example, every stadium in the 32-team National Football League, literally dozens of college football stadiums, and many baseball stadiums have well over the 40,000 minimum seating required for hosting World Cup finals matches. Not all of these stadiums would necessarily be usable for a World Cup, however:
* Many of these stadiums, especially those used for college football, are designed around the American football field, which is about 20 metres narrower than the FIFA standard pitch.
* As for baseball stadiums, many could fairly easily accommodate a football pitch, but the optimal seating configuration is radically different from that for any code of football. Many stadiums were built in the 1960s and early 1970s for professional teams in both the NFL and Major League Baseball (see especially cookie cutter stadium), but they eventually proved less than optimal for both games, and almost all of them have now been replaced by separate stadiums for the two sports.
* Many U.S. stadiums have at least one large bank of bleacher seating instead of the individual chairback seats currently mandated by FIFA. However, this may not be as large a problem as it may seem at first. Converting a bleacher section to all-seater configuration is not overly technically demanding; Germany designed many of the standing terraces in its large stadiums to be convertible to all-seated configuration for international matches, including the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
* An increasing number of stadiums in the U.S. have installed new-generation artificial surfaces such as FieldTurf, which FIFA does not allow for World Cup finals play (though allowed for all other international matches). However, the majority of large stadiums in the U.S. still have grass surfaces. Even for the stadiums with artificial turf, installing a grass pitch for World Cup play is a relatively simple matter, and was done at the Pontiac Silverdome for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.