ZURICH -- Nine candidates vying for the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 will present hefty bid books to FIFA on Friday, with the United States presenting itself as a largely stress-free option because its stadiums are in place.
"The highlights of the bid would be the enormous amount of infrastructure that's already existing in the United States and the flexibility that we have to choose," bid committee executive director David Downs said.
Four bidders from Europe, four from Asia plus the United States will line up in alphabetical order before turning over reams of documents on stadiums, host cities and infrastructure to FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
FIFA will inspect each candidate between July and September. The governing body's 24 executive members will choose the two hosts on Dec. 2 in Zurich.
Europe is expected to get the 2018 event, with England and Russia competing against joint bids from Netherlands-Belgium and Spain-Portugal. All four are also in the 2022 race but would be barred if one of the quartet gets the 2018 tournament.
Each bid book explains how the monthlong, 64-game tournament would be hosted, with detail concerning at least 12 stadiums, training camps, hotels, security protocols, technology, medical support and entertainment.
The candidates were last brought together in Cape Town in December, when David Beckham's presence revitalized an England bid that had been damaged by infighting.
"The great thing about David is that if he suddenly appeared in any village on the planet, everyone would know who he was," England bid chairman David Triesman said this week. "People love seeing him and he will play a leading role in the presentation of the book."
The Los Angeles Galaxy and former Manchester United player might need some help with the heavy lifting: England's bid book runs to 1,752 pages.
The U.S. team has shipped five-volume sets of 1,250 pages each. Russia counts 1,100 pages in its three-volume tome, while South Korea estimates its documentation at 551 pounds. Australia's 760-page offering is bound in kangaroo leather.
"We are sure it will make a compelling case," said Ben Buckley, chief executive of Australia's soccer federation.
Candidates must also provide FIFA copies of government guarantees, contracts with each city and venue, and details of finance and insurance.
Demands have never been greater on candidates looking to host the world's biggest sports event, which gives FIFA about 95 percent of its income. The 2010 tournament in South Africa will generate about $3.4 billion for the governing body in commercial revenue.
FIFA created its biggest bidding race by combining 2018 and 2022 in the same process. Australia and the U.S. have also entered both contests, though Australia's Asian confederation colleagues Japan, Qatar and South Korea have chosen to focus solely on 2022.
Japan and South Korea co-hosted the 2002 World Cup and must justify getting the tournament again 20 years later. South Korea believes the event can be used to improve peace with North Korea.
Qatar's bid was boosted last month when Blatter said the Arab world "deserved" a World Cup. It would counter the extreme Middle East heat in June and July with a multibillion-dollar plan to build stadiums with air-cooling technology.
Qatar, with a population of just 1.3 million, intends to dismantle stadiums it doesn't need after the tournament and give them to developing countries. Such a plan could appeal to FIFA, which wants candidates to explain how their hosting of a World Cup would develop soccer around the world. Russia has promised to open new markets for soccer in the former Soviet republics of central Asia.
Former Dutch stars Johan Cruyff and Ruud Gullit, the bid president, will lead the Netherlands-Belgium team at FIFA. The low-key Spain-Portugal campaign will be headed by Spain's FIFA executive member Angel Villar and Portuguese federation president Gilberto Madail.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press