Japan promises 'World Cup - the next generation'

ZURICH - Japan promised its bid to host a "next generation" World Cup in 2022 was not science fiction as leaders pledged to broadcast holographic images of matches live to 400 stadiums around the world.

"There will be live relay of World Cup matches, played out lifesize in 3D," Junji Ogura, chairman of Japan's bid, told FIFA's executive committee on the eve of Thursday's vote, adding that broadcasts would be shared with all 208 of FIFA's member nations.

"It's not about one nation hosting the games, it's about 208 countries and regions," he said as Japan promised to deliver what they described as the "first next generation World Cup".

Kohzo Tashima, CEO of the Japan bid, said the broadcasting rights for the new technology would be sold separately, greatly increasing revenue for football's governing body.

"This is the magic which will revolutionise the experience, the excitement," said Tashima who, like all the presenters, wore Japanese replica shirts.

The presentation was begun by an eight-year-old girl who said that visitors would be provided with handheld devices which, amongst other things, could offer instant translations between any of around 50 languages.

"Just imagine the crowds in 400 stadiums watching matches, looking down at the pitch turned into a giant screen," said Howard Stringer, Sony Corp chairman and CEO. "This is not science fiction, it's science fact."

Japan is bidding against Australia, South Korea, Qatar and the United States for the right to stage the 2018 World Cup, with the decision coming on Thursday.