The two-month process of inspecting facilities in countries bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups starts today, with FIFA officials in Japan for stop one of a nine country tour.
Japan, concentrating its bid on winning the 2022 finals, welcomed Harold Mayne-Nicholls, head of the five-member evaluation team that will prepare reports on each county for the FIFA executive committee. That 24-person committee will use the reports in deciding which countries will be awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, a decision which will be handed-down in Zurich on December 2.
After visiting South Korea, Mayne-Nicholls will visit Australia before taking a break ahead of visiting Europe's four candidates: the Netherlands-Belgium (joint bid), Russia, England, and Spain-Portugal.
The final visits will be to the United States and Qatar, the tour culminating on September 17.
July 19-22: Japan
July 22-25: South Korea
July 28-29: Australia
August 9-12: The Netherlands-Belgium
August 16-19: Russia
August 23-26: England
August 30-September 2: Spain-Portugal
September 6-9: United States
September 13-17: Qatar