Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mexico Realizes Limitations, Scraps Cup Bids

If you've been in Mexico lately, or paid any attention to the news coming out of the country, the idea that a World Cup should be staged in Mexico in 2018 or even 2022 ... always seemed a little, oh, ridiculous.

Apparently, someone in Mexico's soccer federation also realized it wasn't such a good idea to try for the World Cup (never mind actually stage it), and the plug has been pulled on the bid process.

Mexico officials are citing the cost of the event, and that's one really good reason not to put on a World Cup.

But there are others.

1. Mexico has done little to improve its soccer infrastructure since it last hosted the World Cup, in 1986. That makes for a lot of aging and old-fashioned stadiums as potential World Cup venues, and that wasn't going to fly.

2. Mexico's economy is in the tank. Arguably worse than it was a generation ago.

3. Mexico is this close to turning into a narco-state. Many of the cities on the U.S. border and almost lawless, and several in the interior aren't much better. Mexico can't quite guarantee the security of its own citizens on a daily basis, and the idea of making the country safe for 500,000 or so World Cup visitors ... well, it wasn't going to happen.

That leaves Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Russia and the United States as candidates for both 2018 and 2022. Portugal and Spain, and Belgium and Holland, want to share hosting duties for either World Cup.

South Korea and Qatar are bidding only for 2022.

FIFA is scheduled to vote on hosts for both 2018 and 2022 in December of 2010. Brazil will play host to the 2014 World Cup. England probably is the favorite to get the 2018 World Cup, and the U.S. may be the front-runner for 2022.

Mexico is out of the loop until 2026, at the earliest. Which is just as well.

It's good when a country realizes its limitations. Mexico is a great soccer country, but this is not the time for it to take on the massive responsibility of a World Cup.

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