The FIFA World Cup 2018 announcement may be overlooked today. Although the FIFA World Cup 2018 will be held in a new setting, the 2022 decision stands to get the most scrutiny. Since America lost that contest, and was defeated by the small Middle Eastern power Qatar, most of the buzz is around those results. In fact, the announcement made beforehand may seem like an undercard by comparison. But for Russia, hosting the FIFA World Cup 2018 is far bigger news, and will complete a big doubleheader.
England had most of the attention around it in this race, while Spain and Portugal, as well as the Netherlands and Belgium, joined together. However, the English were plagued by charges of corruption and collusion, and were reportedly knocked out in the first round of voting.
Instead, the FIFA World Cup 2018 is heading to Russia, for the first time ever. They had the inside track towards victory, and secured an easy win in the second round over the unified European powers. This guarantees that Russia will have a busy decade ahead in international sports.
In 2014, the Russians will warm up for the Cup by hosting the Winter Olympics. Now they will host two major international competitions in the span of four years. But they will not be the only nation to pull double duty on this front.
The FIFA World Cup 2018 announcement was the first one of its kind since Brazil got awarded the 2014 tournament. Whereas Russia will have four years in between the Olympics and the Cup, Brazil will have two years in between the 2014 Cup, and the 2016 Summer Olympics. According to reports, Brazil is still struggling to get ready for both events.
Therefore, the task ahead for Russia is a bit daunting, although they are already well underway with Olympics preparations. Finance minister Alexei Kudrin and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expressed confidence that they are ready, with Kudrin saying they can spend less than they have on the Olympics.
If the Russians can pull the FIFA World Cup 2018 off, it won’t be that much of a surprise. They have hosted the Olympics before, and will do it again in just over three years. Much of the discussion today will likely center on 2022, as Qatar tries to handle being the smallest host in the event’s history.
In the meantime, Putin is heading over to Zurich, after he wasn’t able to make it for the announcement. Once the celebrations finish up, Russia will have yet another major sporting event to plan for.
The Guardian- “England beaten as Russia wins 2018 World Cup”
Reuters- “Putin heads to thank FIFA for 2018 World Cup”