The FIFA announcement of the World Cup 2018 and 2022 hosts made history. Today’s FIFA announcement ensured that brand new locations and areas would get to host soccer’s biggest event. Months after the first African World Cup was finished, two other unexpected nations will step in for 2018 and 2022. They could have gone a more conventional route, by letting England and the United States take the reigns. Instead, today’s FIFA announcement gave Russia and Qatar surprising victories over larger powers.
The 2018 decision came first, as Russia faced off against England, Spain/Portugal, and the Dutch/Belgium. Although the Russians have hosted the Olympics before, they had never come close to hosting the World Cup, until now.
But the biggest FIFA announcement today came minutes later, when America awaited their chance to host the 2022 event. The U.S. and Australia were favored, while the small but rich Middle Eastern nation of Qatar was considered a sleeper. Yet size didn’t matter on this day, as Qatar made history for their region.
For the first time, the Middle East will play host to the World Cup, although Qatar’s soccer team had never qualified before. But since it is also the smallest nation of all time to host, getting everything set will be difficult over the next 12 years.
Even larger countries have a hard time getting everything ready for these events. The last major FIFA announcement like this gave Brazil the 2014 World Cup, but they are still struggling to finish preparations. In fact, there is doubt that they can do it at all, especially since they are also preparing for the 2013 Confederation’s Cup, and 2016 Olympics.
Qatar will have 12 years to get ready, whereas Russia has just under eight years. The Russians also have double duty ahead, just like Brazil, as the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held there as well. But finance minister Alexei Kudrin told Yahoo that the World Cup will be cheaper to put together than the Olympics.
This past World Cup was held in a nation that had its own controversial horn for soccer, while the next Cup will be hosted by the sport’s biggest champions. But today’s FIFA announcement favored nations that aren’t traditionally known for soccer – although they will be in about a decade or so.
ESPN- “U.S. World Cup bid falls short”
Times Live- “Brazil 2014 dogged by doubts and delays”
Yahoo Sport- “Putin heads to thank FIFA for 2018 World Cup”