The result is a legacy of nice (but largely underused) facilities that are making for a second round of feverish efforts to host the World Cup, this time in 2022. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan wined and dined the FIFA folks who came by last week, and now we get news that South Korea's bid is also doing well:
The head of FIFA's inspection team has lauded South Korea's "well-structured" bid to host the 2022 World Cup.Wait a minute... "Peace for everyone"? Didn't that message lose us the 2014 Winter Olympics? You know, to that summer resort in Russia?
Harold Mayne-Nicholls, chief of the five-man delegation, was speaking at the end of a three-day visit to the Asian nation, the second such inspection among the nine bidders for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The team arrived from Japan on Thursday and land in Australia on Monday.
As well as Seoul, the team toured Daegu, Ulsan, Goyang and Incheon and also found time for dinner with president Lee Myung-Bak on Friday evening.
"Despite the short amount of time that we stayed, we could check all we needed - training sites, hotels, convention centres, stadiums, airports, new technology," said Chilean federation president Mayne-Nicholls. "We had a chance to learn a lot about the history and future of Korea and the challenges for the future, the people who have helped and the president Lee Myung-Bak, who gave all his support for the 2022 World Cup and treated us in a very friendly way.
"But mostly we learned that your well-structured bidding campaign is based on the message we all need - peace for everyone."
Um, anyhoo, I'd kinda like to see another joint hosting. It will be cheaper, for starters, but without about the same amount of prestige, and I'm always happy to see Seoul and Tokyo forced to get along (and they tend to, despite Yasukuni visits and reaction to Yasukuni visits, and all that other nastiness).
Barring that, of course, I'd prefer to see Korea hosting the games over Japan, especially if we're somehow looking at a unified Korea by then (it would be a huge boost to national unity at a time I imagine might be difficult for everyone). The only advantage to Japan winning the games is that I could routinely use the following picture and its caption whenever the 2022 games is mentioned.