Objective: To ascertain whether it is possible to assess countries bidding for international sporting events based on public health and sports medicine criteria. In particular, the authors undertook this exercise for countries bidding for the 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Football World Cup (2018 World Cup).
Design: A scorecard framework approach to pose and answer nine relevant questions. Questions were answered using Medline-listed references (where possible) and internet research.
Results: England scored the highest overall, largely due to its sports medicine training programme and recognition, and funding of treatment for sports injuries. The Netherlands/Belgium scored highly in the questions relating to public health expenditure, Australia was very strong in sports medicine research, and Japan was the best of the bidding countries in terms of having a lower prevalence of overweight and obese people.
Conclusions: It is possible to assess countries bidding for international sporting events based on their performance with respect to sports medicine, physical activity and health promotion criteria. Bodies organising major sporting events such as FIFA and the International Olympic Committee may wish to consider making public health measures part of the bidding criteria for hosting these events.