Tag Archives: russia

World Cup host selections 2018 and 2022

FIFA announced Thursday that Russia will host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup.

The announcements weren’t complete shots in the dark, as both Russia and Qatar were amongst the favorites going in to the voting. However, both nations had serious question marks looming over their bids. Allegations of corruption within England and Spain regarding the Russian bid have made the rounds for weeks now. And Qatar will need to build many stadiums and training centers in the next 12 years.

Perhaps more shocking than the selections of Russia and Qatar, has been just how poorly favorites England and the US faired. England, the bookies’ favorites coming in, received only two votes and were knocked out of the first round. The bid from the Netherlands and Belgium received four and they were at 50/1 winners compared to England on less than even money.

The US was outvoted in the early rounds by Japan and Korea, hosts merely eight years ago. Eventually the US bid made the final round of voting, but was beaten by 6 votes of 22 available.

Clearly, there was some overconfidence within the England and US camps, but why? The FA is confident, bordering on arrogant, regarding everything. So this isn’t a major surprise. But surely it would have only taken a decent bid to win with the infrastructure already in place and such passion for the game.

And the US, really, why the overconfidence? I’ve never really understood why US Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati remains in charge. He’s failed to attract a top-level manager for the national team and it’s stagnated in the past World Cup cycle and failed to attract a World Cup. Time for a change.

What’s really sad in all of it has been the reaction of soccer media in the US. One of the most respected bloggers on the subject in the US, Ives Galarcep, said the following on Twitter after the announcement:

“I apologize in advance 4 my language since I keep it clean on here usually, but 2 quote Kanye West, this is ‘Fucking Ridiculous’#SoAppalled,” “Whether it’s Jose Mourinho, Jason Kreis or Caleb Porter, whoever coaches USA in 2022 better put up a five spot on Qatar in group play.” and “I would have said more than a five-spot but considering it’ll be two thousand degrees, may be tough to score more than five on Qatar.”

What’s worse, was the response of US star Landon Donovan on Twitter, “I have an idea..we play Qatar in a friendly(they can even host it), and the winner gets to host the 2022 WC..wait, do they even have a team?”

Sure, as a fan of the US National Team and current England resident, I was bummed to hear the news. And sure, I blasted FIFA over their decisions amid corruption (you can read those bits on twitter, @austinlindberg). But it’s time to grow up, guys. Everyone knows there’s at least a hint of corruption within FIFA, but that’s the way it is. No sense in blasting Russia and Qatar over it.

Because when it comes down to it, Russia and Qatar will put the necessary effort into making their World Cups a success. No one wants to be remembered as the host nation of an awful World Cup. And in the case of Qatar, the spectacle of the whole thing will be a lot of fun to watch.

So settle down. Even if the US was hosting in 2022, it wouldn’t make much difference. Their home matches against the world’s best are usually better-supported by away fans, anyway.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

England misses the mark in World Cup bid

So the vice-president of England’s FIFA World Cup 2018 bid said today that England have a better bid than competing bids from Russia and the joint bids from Spain and Portugal and Holland and Belgium.

Without doubt, England has been the favorite for logistical reasons and the numerous stadiums in place with more on the way for the 2012 Olympics in London. Gordon Taylor, the VP, also said that England’s football heritage is another trump card. Meh, does that really matter anymore? Three of the past five World Cups have been held in developing football nations. So, short answer, no.

Then Taylor said something really interesting, “Politics could scupper England’s bid, but it shouldn’t be allowed to as politics should not dictate to sport, and when you look at the bid process, it shouldn’t have an effect. Instead, look at the bids – that’s the idea of it, and our bid is the best.”

This statement comes after speculation that recent probes into the bid process by The Sunday Times, exposing some FIFA representatives selling their votes, has hurt England’s chances. Why? Because English news publications are out to sabotage other bids in the name of England, according to some.

Heaven forbid somebody shed a little light on the goings-on within FIFA. But therein lies the problem and what makes Taylor’s statements so comical.

There are representatives out there with World Cup votes for sale, or at least it appeared that way based on the evidence if you want to get technical about it and avoid libel lawsuits (like I do). I would think the last thing FIFA want at their crown jewel of 2018 is reporters snooping around, trying to dig up a story. It would be much more convenient to have a host overjoyed to be able to host such an event and cater to FIFA’s every request. Some place like Russia, or Qatar (in 2022).

So if England don’t get the bid for 2018, it won’t be because there is a better bid out there, Mr. Taylor. It will be because FIFA don’t like looking foolish and the English press has no qualms about making anyone look foolish. That and The FA won’t stump up £500,000 per vote.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,