Russia to host 2018 World Cup and Qatar wins 2022 bid

World Cup winners (sort of): Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, holds the World Cup trophy aloft after today’s announcement that Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup, beating out four other nations including the U.S. (AP Photos).

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England lost out to the ruble-packing Russians.

And the petro-dollar fueled Middle Eastern nation of Qatar beat out the U.S. for the 2022 World Cup.

Hmmm, see a common thread here?

More later.

Here’s more from the Associated Press:

ZURICH (AP) — Qatar was selected as host of the 2022 World Cup, beating out a bid by the United States to bring soccer’s showcase back to America for the first time since 1994.

FIFA’s executive committee choose Qatar — a nation smaller than Connecticut, which has promised to overcome 130-degree heat with air conditioned stadiums — over the U.S., Australia, Japan and South Korea in a secret vote Thursday.

Minutes earlier, Russia was announced as host of the 2018 tournament. It was chosen over England and joint bids by Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium.

“We go to new lands,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter said.

i-a5ba3ab5fe6faecf325c6992228cb935-beckswilliam.jpgFrom World Cup princes to paupers: Even the star power of the Galaxy’s David Beckham and the center forward from Buckingham Palace FC, Prince William, couldn’t save the English bid.

Following corruption allegations that led to two of 24 FIFA executive committee members being excluded from the vote, the decision to go to the Middle East in 2022 was bound to be controversial even before it was made. It also will cause American sports executives to question what they have do to host another international event.

Qatar promised to spend $50 billion on infrastructure upgrades and $4 billion to build
nine stadiums and renovate three others. One advantage of the having the tournament in a small country: The stadiums will all be within an hour of each other.

“Basically, oil and natural gas won today. This was not about merit, this was about money,” former U.S. national team star Eric Wynalda said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. Qatar “is a country that is really going to struggle to host this event. A successful World Cup would mean the attendance would be twice the population.”

Qataris and others — including workers from south Asia — immediately started dancing in the streets along Doha’s Gulf waterfront. Some blew the vuvuzelas that became synonymous with the World Cup in South Africa.

FIFA’s inspection report highlighted a danger posted by heat — the average high in late June is 106 degrees. Qatar said the World Cup thrived despite heat during tournaments in Mexico in 1970 and 1986, and the U.S. in 1994.

Qatar, with a population smaller than that of Houston, used its 30-minute presentation to
underline how the tournament could unify a region ravaged by conflict. Presenters also
promised to dismantle the stadiums built for the tournament and give them to needy
nations.

“On behalf of millions of people living in the Middle East, thank you,” Qatar bid chair Sheikh Mohammad bin Hamad Al-Thani said. “Thank you for believing in us, thank you for having such bold vision. … Thank you also for acknowledging this is the right time for the Middle East. We have a date with history which is summer 2022.”

It was the second international loss in the year for the U.S., which was led by former
President Bill Clinton during its final presentation Wednesday. Last year, the nternational Olympic Committee chose Rio de Janeiro over Chicago and others for the 2016 Olympics despite a personal lobbying effort by President Barack Obama.

i-453e6e0d7bdaa317c65b2f919a845516-usslipsworldcup.jpgBorn slippy: A metaphor for the ill-fated U.S. and England World Cup bids sits outside the FIFA HQ in snowy Zurich.

Brazil was selected as the 2014 host in October 2007, and FIFA began accepting bids for the following two tournaments in early 2009.

The World Cup was played in the United States for the first time in 1994, setting a record with 3.58 million tickets sold, and the U.S. Soccer Federation had hoped a second World Cup in America would boost soccer’s slow but steady growth and give a big lift to Major League Soccer.

Now the U.S. will have to wait until at least 2026, when it may have to compete with bids from Europe, soccer’s financial base.

By selecting Qatar, FIFA precluded a 2026 bid from China, since the same continent cannot host consecutive World Cups.

The 2018 vote was especially crushing for England, the motherland of soccer, which has not hosted the World Cup since winning it for the only time in 1966.

“You will never regret” the decision, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said. “Let us make history together.”

i-b9ce1f82d679e13e1c2cb153157bfae6-ESPNspotszonewcbid.jpgAnguish in LA: Soccer fans at the ESPN Zone at LA Live downtown react to the news the World Cup won’t be coming to the U.S. for at least 16 years (AFP/Getty Images).

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • UCLABZ

    Wow these guys are corrupt. I could understand losing to Australia…. but Qatar? I’ve got to believe their is under the table dealings going on here.

    So they want to play the games in temporary stadiums in 130F heat… this sounds like a recipe for disaster. What about hotels are those going to be temporary structures too? I guess the quality of the facilities will be directly proportional to the price of oil.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    There’s only one reason why Qatar won: Mohammed bin Hamman, the president of the Asian Football Confederation, is from Qatar. He controls a lot of votes in Sepp Blatter’s campaign to win another term as FIFA president. Blatter needs those votes to win. Hence, the trade-off: We’ll give you the World Cup if you give your votes to Blatter.

    The tip-off came a couple of weeks ago when CONCACAF’S Chuck Blazer was named the chairman of FIFA’s radio and television committee. Pope Benedict knows more about being a practicing atheist than Blazer does about managing radio and television. That whole appointment was to throw a bone to Jack Warner in return for Warner’s support for Blatter…which would mean supporting Qatar instead of the United States for 2022.

    Remember that without Blatter, Warner is dangerously exposed. If they go down, they will go down together or sell each other out.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    BTW, I’m pulling for Israel to qualify in 2022. That will be verrrry interesting to see…. ;D

  • Studs Up

    Soccer is a global sport and it should be showcased everywhere. S. Africa had it’s nay-sayers as well and they pulled it off real well. Same goes for the unique setting of Qatar. I can see people jetting in and out just for the games from all over the area. No worse than flying cross country here or as it will be in Russia. It will definitely be a different experience but it’s supposed to be. It is a gutsy move by FIFA but a calculated one in that it can have a positive influence in an area that really needs it without bankrupting a governemnt that can’t afford to stage it. This will be a first indoor soccer tournament in the grandest scale. Sure would have loved to see the games back here but the idea of cooking in the midday summer sun just so Europe can watch it on prime time brings back terrible memories of ’94.

  • Soccer Fan

    Check out the unique stadiums they are proposing to build. They sold FIFA on a vision of the future and the fact they would spend the money.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcAi3GLQyOI&feature=player_embedded#!

  • http://www.worldcupsoccerrussia.com ser

    All politics man! read more about the world cup 2018 in russia