Thursday, December 02, 2010

Russia, Qatar The Next World Cup Hosts

I can't help but think of that old adage, "Money talks, you know what walks" right now.

FIFA announced in Switzerland (in a big spectacle with FIFA president Sepp Blatter or was that Sepp Blather, as he went on and on) today that Russia will be the host of the 2018 World Cup finals, and the small Asian country of Qatar will host the finals in 2022.

England was strongly pushing for the 2018 Cup, and the US for 2022. It seemed to come down to England and Spain/Portugal for 2018, and Russia was mainly an afterthought, as well as the other bidder for that Cup, Holland/Belgium.

There were 22 voters in the total process. According to ESPN's Bob Ley on Twitter, it came down to Russia and Spain/Portugal in the final vote (with England eliminated in the first vote), and Qatar and the US in the final vote for 2022, with Qatar winning 14-8.

For 2022, Australia, Japan and South Korea (bidding separately) were also in the mix, as this World Cup was going to place outside of Europe or South America. Bill Clinton and Morgan Freeman were pressing the flesh in Zurich over the last couple of days to get the voters to see it the US way, but it ultimately came up short.

Here's more from ESPN.

Granted, neither Russia nor Qatar has ever hosted a World Cup, so FIFA can point to that fact with pride. But these two winners both smell like the country with the most money won out.

The US can now bid again for the 2026 World Cup, but FIFA may again have the finals played in Europe then, as no continent can host the World Cup in consecutive tournaments.

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