FIFA may adopt an Olympic-style bidding process to cut down down the number of countries interested in hosting the 2018 World Cup finals.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter, speaking at Soccerex, said so many countries had already indicated an interest, that there may have to be a “preliminary elimination” to reduce the number of candidates.
“We are only in 2007, but the race for the 2018 World Cup has already started with a race of interested countries,” he said.
“Already we are hearing about the United States, Mexico, Canada, a combined bid from Belgium and Holland, Russia and of course England are interested. Spain – don’t forget about them – and also perhaps China, Australia and Japan.
“We could end up with eight or nine bidders for 2018 and we haven’t event played (the) 2010 (finals) yet.”
“If there is actually as many candidates as there appears to be then we will have to do what the IOC does and have a preliminary elimination and only go with those who have given the right guarantees.”
He said the decision on the 2018 finals would be taken in 2011, but that FIFA would consider reviewing their selection procedures.
Brazil were the only bidders for the 2014 finals, which were allocated to South America as part of FIFA’s worldwide rotation policy which has now been abandoned.