As announced last week in Zurich, in two of the biggest upsets in World Cup voting history, Russia and Qatar were awarded the host nation honors for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments respectively. With the vote last week, FIFA proves yet again that not only is it the governing body for the world’s most popular sport, but it also leads its peers as a medium for ending racism and supporting peace worldwide. As expected, both Russia and Qatar are ecstatic over the decisions, but much attention is being paid to the politicking that went on behind the scenes, FIFA’s problematic current bidding structure, and the monumental challenges that face the host nations.
England’s downfall is Russia’s triumph
Russia’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup beat out bids from England, a joint bid from the Netherlands and Belgium, and a joint bid from Spain and Portugal. England, who is arguably the heart of the soccer world (both in talent and passion), is utterly devastated. And maybe with good reason. As the epicenter of the soccer world, they haven’t hosted the tournament since 1966. They have an embarrassment of riches in terms of infrastructure (stadiums, safety, transport, airports etc.), the most passionate fanbase in the world, and their bid committee included Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William, and David Beckham amongst others. By all accounts, their final presentation was flawless, and before the voting, they were the favorite to win the bid. Not only did they not win the bid, but they were out after the first round. Per FIFA protocol, voting goes on a round-by-round basis with the bid getting the fewest votes being dropped. So essentially England was the first out. Very surprising at the least. Continue reading The Times They Are A Changin’: Russia and Qatar To Host 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups »