England and Australia's bids to host football's World Cup in 2018 and 2022 may suffer from clashes with local sports events, including tennis at Wimbledon and Australian rugby league, FIFA indicated.

“It is a FIFA requirement that no other major sporting event is hosted in a Host City during the period and the fact that the Wimbledon tennis championships take place in London during late June/early July could have an impact on the public attention given to the FIFA World Cup,” the evaluation report said.

FIFA's evaluation of Australia signalled a clash with the National Rugby League season and Australian rules football from March to September, affecting both public attention and available resources, as well as a potential third impact.

“The Queen's Birthday is celebrated on the second Monday of June and is marked by a public holiday in the majority of states (except Western Australia) which could have some impact in the host cities (except Perth) during the tournament,” the report remarked.

The report on England did not mention Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday, which does not correspond to the actual date of April 21 and is traditionally set for a Saturday in June in Britain.

Future dates for football's month-long showpiece event have not been set but they have typically straddled June into July when it has been hosted by European countries.

Wimbledon, the world's oldest tennis tournament, has been staged since 1877 over a two-week period in late June and early July.

The report was published by world football's governing body two weeks before British Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William are expected to join David Beckham in a high-profile final pitch by England against other European bidders in Zurich.

FIFA's technical evaluation team found that England's stadiums exceeded minimum requirements and highlighted the country's experience with hosting international sports events as well as transport links. However, they raised technical questions about the readiness of training sites and contractual issues over accommodation. Australian generally benefitted from a strong evaluation including on its stadiums.

Questions were raised over the distance between Australian venues and the reliance on air transport, as well as the risk of a loss in TV income from Europe and the Americas because of the time difference. — AFP

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