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Routine Affair

The draw may these days be a glitzy, lavishly produced event held in such impressive surroundings as Frankfurt’s festival hall, the Tokyo international forum and the Louvre in Paris, watched by people all around on the world on TV and the internet, but this is a relatively recent development. By contrast, the draw for the preliminary competition of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico constituted nothing more than an item on the agenda of a regular meeting of the FIFA organising committee in the Moroccan city of Casablanca in 1968. It must therefore have seemed revolutionary when the German organisers of the 1974 tournament decided to broadcast the draw for the subsequent qualifying competition live in July 1971 from TV studios in Dusseldorf. The pioneering step towards creating a truly global event was made, perhaps unsurprisingly, by the Americans, who held the preliminary draw for the 1994 World Cup at New York’s magnificent Madison Square Garden in 1991. It marked the start of a new era for a task that had long been considered nothing more than a mundane administrative matter. After New York, Tokyo, Paris and Frankfurt, Durban’s international convention centre will this year join the most illustrious of company.