Who's who at 2018/2022 World Cup bid presentations

Putin not attending; 3 bids without head of state, including USA

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ZÜRICH,
Switzerland — Scratch one major leader from making an appearance and giving an
11th-hour plea for his country to host the World Cup.

Russian
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday that he will not travel here
for Thursday’s decision, which had to deal a blow to his country’s hopes of
staging the World Cup in 2018.

Putin
said that Russia had faced "unscrupulous competition" in its bid to
host the Cup.

“I
would have liked to have gone myself but in these conditions I have decided not
to travel … so that they can make a decision without any pressure from the
outside,” Putin reportedly told ministers in Moscow.

First
Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov will attend the ceremony, Putin said.

The
Russians are vying for the 2018 competition along with England, Spain/Portugal
and Netherlands/Belgium.

Many
of the candidates will bring in their big guns for their final presentations.
The 2022 candidates – the US, Australia, Japan, Korea and Qatar – will state
their case Wednesday, while the 2018 quartet will present on Thursday.

President
Bill Clinton, the honorary chairman of the USA Bid Committee, was flying here
for Wednesday's 30-minute presentation.

US
Attorney General Eric Holder was a late addition, to show that the US
government would support the World Cup. The US' legal risk has been
considered a weak point of its bid, according to FIFA inspection reports.

Several
countries are bringing in their big guns for their final pleas.

Prince
William and Prime Minister David Cameron head the English delegation. Los
Angeles Galaxy and England international midfielder David Beckham also will
speak.

Portugal
Prime Minister José Sócrates and Spain's José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will help
state the case of their country's joint bid.

Korea
had Prime Minister Kim Hwang-Shik and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin
Khalifa al-Thani, led his delegation.

For
the Netherlands-Belgium joint bid, both prime ministers – the Belgians' Yves
Leterme and the Netherlands' Mark Rutte, also with the help of Ruud Gullit and Johan
Cruyff.

Australia
brought in Quentin Bryce, the governor-general of the Commonwealth of
Australia, along with supermodel Elle MacPherson.

Japan
did not have a government leader – Kan Suzuki, its minister in charge of sports
is its highest ranking official here – although SONY chairman and CEO Howard
Stringer led its delegation.

Of
the nine candidates for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the US, Japan and
Russia were the only countries without a head of state representing their
respective nations. Whether that will hinder those countries' bids remains to
be seen.

US
Soccer president Sunil Gulati has said in the past that the presence of
President Obama at the announcement for the 2016 Summer Games did not help
Chicago's bid. In fact, Chicago was embarrassingly eliminated in the first
round of voting.

Hours
before the US made its final presentation to FIFA, this was the US list of
presenters:

President
Clinton; Gulati, chairman of the USA Bid Committee; Carlos Cordeiro, vice
chairman of the Bid Committee; Don Garber, MLS Commissioner; Landon Donovan,
US men's national team player; David Downs, executive director of the Bid Committee; actor Morgan Freeman; Holder, US attorney general; and Mia Hamm, Bid Committee board
member and two-time FIFA women's world player of the year.

Join the Galaxy's Edson Buddle & Omar Gonzalez, Miss LA Galaxy and her court and the Galaxy street team on Thursday morning, December 2, at 6:30 a.m. PT at ESPN Zone LA Live for the announcement of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup host countries. MORE INFO

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