Iberian World Cup bid confident

Published Nov. 23, 2010 3:31 p.m. ET

The head of Spain/Portugal's World Cup 2018 bid has claimed they already have as many as eight of the 22 FIFA votes in the bag.

The Iberian countries are up against England, Russia and Holland/Belgium and their bid chief executive Miguel Angel Lopez said he is "moderately confident" of winning.

Lopez's confidence reflects many FIFA observers' feelings that Spain/Portugal are narrowly ahead of Russia in the race with England just behind - and still in the contest.

Asked about reports that Spain/Portugal already had eight votes, Lopez told Bloomberg: "It would be about that, more of less."

He confirmed that he expected most support from South America and from Asia rather than Europe, and was not expecting UEFA president Michel Platini to back their bid.

"Latin America is our natural territory," added Lopez, and said that the bid would probably have to do without any backing from Platini, plus two other European FIFA members not connected with a bidding country, Senes Erzik from Turkey and Cyprus' Marios Lefkaritis.

"They haven't given us any indication they will [vote for us]", Lopez said but added that he was more optimistic of support from the four Asian FIFA members.


Last week, FIFA's ethics committee dismissed allegations of collusion between Spain/Portugal and 2022 bidders Qatar on the grounds of lack of evidence.

The allegations were that a deal had been agreed where a group of FIFA members would vote en bloc for both bids - such deals are prohibited by bidding rules.

Lopez said if there had been substance to the allegations then the ethics committee would have probed deeper. "If there was something, they would have done more," he said.

He said a FIFA official had sent an email to the Iberian bid last month warning he might need information for his investigation, followed by another a week later saying it would not be necessary.

Lopez also believes that whatever happens between now and the vote in Zurich on December 2, most FIFA members have already made up their minds.

"All the fish is sold," Lopez said.