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Friday, December 03, 2010

And the World Cup goes to ... Russia ... and ... Qatar?

FIFA's executive committee have made their choices for hosts of the next to World Cups and the winners are Russia in 2018, and, and Qatar (!?!) in 2022.

Russia was selected to host the 2018 event in Europe ahead of co-bidders Spain-Portugal and Holland-Belgium and England, which won only two votes.

This was not a surprise to most people, with Russia having the financial ability to create the stadia, and with the Russian delegation pointing out that despite Europe hosting 10 previous World Cups - NONE had been held in Eastern Europe.

The outcry in England has been loud, but let's be honest, other than a pile of patriotic press did anyone REALLY think that England had the political clout within FIFA to swing 12 or more votes required to win?!

Much of the noise has come from the stinging realisation that despite England having the best technical bid, and the most profitable bid for FIFA, and the established support structures to be a quality host ... the English bid only secured two votes - one from the English delegate - and one other thought to have come from either Cameroon or Japan.

It's a "slap in the face" for the members of the English FA, as there was plainly nothing wrong with the technical aspects of the bid- it was simply a reflection of England's political status within FIFA ... almost non-existent.

2018 host 2nd round voting : Netherlands-Belgium 2; Spain-Portugal 7; Russia 13
(England already eliminated with 2 votes)

Then in the 2022 vote FIFA went for the tiny Gulf state of Qatar (population 1.7m) who will have to renovate three stadiums and build nine new ones, and battle with temperatures as high as 50C during the two hottest months of the year?!

2022 host 4th round voting : United States 8; Qatar 14
(Australia eliminated with 1 vote, Japan eliminated with 2 votes, South Korea eliminated with 5 votes)

Admittedly, the choices were limited for 2022, with South Korea and Japan both having co-hosted in 2002 and seen as far too soon to repeat, and Australia being the wrong timezone for European TV.

But given the final round choice of the United States, or Qatar, surely the only sensible choice had to be to go for the 1984 hosts to repeat again. How on earth did Qatar get the nod?

*cough* suitcase of cash *cough* ??

Anyway, FIFA have chosen to take the World Cup to new countries, and as most of us will probably watch the whole thing on TV anyway ... let's just hope that they get the TV coverage sorted ... and have none of those damn vuvuzuelas eh?!

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