The FIFA World Cup 2018 bid winner and FIFA World Cup 2022 bid winner have both been announced. The winning World Cup bid to be host country for 2018 is Russia, and the winning World Cup bid to be host country for 2022 is Qatar.
After months and months of buildup, hype and controversy, a suspenseful presentation ceremony and a nearly two year process altogether, finally the host countries have been decided for the next two World Cups, following Brazil’s turn in 2014, and this year’s South African tournament.
The announcements came live from Zurich, Switzerland, where FIFA is based from, and first included talk about the bidding process itself, and global football. FIFA decided to announce the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids together at the same time, allowing countries to potentially make bids for both at once before settling in, and allowing FIFA to plot out a decade of its future in one swoop.
The United States did in fact prepare bids for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup before shifting focus to just the 2022 World Cup Bid. After eliminating numerous potential hosts for both tournaments, the final World Cup bids for hosting rights came from England, Russia, Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium for 2018, and the United States, South Korea, Japan, Qatar and Australia for 2022.
For the USA’s World Cup bid, the country made a final presentation which included President Bill Clinton, actor Morgan Freeman and male soccer star Landon Donovan. The strength of the USA World Cup bid itself lied in the huge stadiums and infrastructure already in place, as well as a growing base of support including millions of youth players, the presence of many of the world’s largest and most sports-minded corporations and sponsors, and so forth.
It wasn’t enough though, and England’s bid to be a host for a second time wasn’t enough either, despite an absence dating back to 1966. Instead, FIFA decided to pick for each World Cup bid a country which has never had the privilege to host before, and it also steered clear of both dual-country bids.
Winning the World Cup bid is of course a joyous moment for any country, but as with hosting the Olympics, the hosting “privilege” often ends up being a burden, with expenses that never get paid back, and white elephant stadiums which go unused following the tournament. Already, South African stadiums are vacant throughout the country, and the billions spent on stadiums and infrastructures is hanging over the country’s head.
Was the month-long party worth all of the cost? It can take decades to figure that out, but for now, the World Cup bid winners for 2018 and 2022, Russia and Qatar can simply sit back, celebrate, and get to planning.