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South America to support Iberia's 2018 World Cup bid

South America confederation president Nicolas Leoz will vote for Spain-Portugal next week, according to CONMEBOL.
South America confederation president Nicolas Leoz will vote for Spain-Portugal next week, according to CONMEBOL.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spain-Portugal bid can expect to win three votes from South America next week
  • CONMEBOL official says confederation will back the Iberian bid for 2018 World Cup
  • Spain-Portugal camp claimed earlier this week that it had secured eight of the 22 votes
  • Qatar, which is bidding for 2022 rights, has also pledged support to Iberian bid

(CNN) -- South America will support the joint Spain-Portugal bid to host the 2018 World Cup at next week's vote, a top official at its football confederation revealed on Thursday.

CONMEBOL will have three of 22 votes when world ruling body FIFA's executive committee meets on Friday to elect which countries will stage the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

"The 10 countries are agreed to give the vote to Spain," its general secretary Eduardo Deluca told reporters after a meeting in Asuncion, Paraguay.

England's bid representative David Dein had visited Brazil and Paraguay earlier in the week meeting CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz as he sought South American support.

The Paraguayan is one of the confederation's three executive members along with Argentina's Julio Grondona and Ricardo Terra Teixeira of Brazil.

Asia supports the Iberian bid. There's an excellent relationship between Asian football and Spanish football
--Mohamed Bin Hammam
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Deluca's announcement follows claims by the head of the Spain-Portugal camp, Miguel Angel Lopez, that it had already secured eight votes.

Lopez told the Bloomberg news agency on Monday that Spain's Angel Maria Villar Lona would also vote for the joint bid along with five other executive committee members.

The head of the Asian Football Confederation, who is from 2022 candidate Qatar, also said he would be supporting Spain-Portugal.

"Asia supports the Iberian bid. There's an excellent relationship between Asian football and Spanish football, we have done a lot of projects together, but that doesn't mean there has been a pact between us," Mohamed Bin Hammam told Spanish newspaper Marca.

"It is something that happens between a lot of bids and it's not at all illegal. Qatar is going to support Spain and Portugal and they will support us, but we're not breaking any rules."

FIFA ruled that there had been no illegal collusion between rival bid camps earlier this month when it suspended two executive committee members for offering to sell their votes to undercover newspaper reporters.

Nigeria's Amos Adamu and Oceania president Reynald Temarii will both be excluded from the December 2 vote, reducing the number from 24.

The Oceania federation is meeting this weekend to see if it can find a way to get its vote reinstated, Australia's Sydney Morning Herald reported on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a Bloomberg report has cast doubt on the Iberian bid's ability to finance the renovation of stadiums given Spain and Portugal's economic problems.

"If building these stadiums means taking on more debt, I fear that they won't happen," the chief economist at Spanish savings bank foundation Funcas said.

Angel Laborda said both countries would be tightening their budgets, meaning local councils would struggle to find funds for stadium work.

Spain-Portugal is bidding along with England, Russia and Belgium-Netherlands for 2018, while Qatar, Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States are vying for the rights to host in 2022.