<div class="article-title">FIFA announce Russia to host 2018 World Cup, Qatar to host 2022 World Cup</div>

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Football’s governing body, FIFA, today announced Russia is to host the 2018 World Cup, and Qatar is to host the 2022 World Cup. The decision was made by FIFA’s 22 executive members, who conducted a ballot in Zurich today. Russia beat England, Spain-Portugal and Holland-Belgium to host the event in 2018. The Qatar bid was picked ahead of the United States, Australia, Japan, and South Korea to stage the 2022 tournament.

Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Igor Shuvalov spoke briefly to react to his country’s victory. “You have entrusted us with the FIFA World Cup for 2018 and I can promise, we all can promise, you will never regret it. Let us make history together,” he said. Some analysts had suggested that Russia would not win the right to host the tournament, since Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had decided not to travel to Zurich, but remained in Moscow. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said of Russia: “I am sure that to organise the World Cup in that region, or that continent, it will do a lot of good for this part of the world.”

You have entrusted us with the FIFA World Cup for 2018 and I can promise, we all can promise, you will never regret it. Let us make history together

Russia captain Andrey Arshavin said he was “very, very happy” with the result. “It is going to have a huge impact in sports, in our economy, in the development of the country and even in politics. The influence of football in the world is huge. You can see that even today with the presentations and those who were making them,” he said. “It’s going to be the best World Cup in history because Russians are so hospitable. I hope it will change the way that Europe and the world view Russia—and hopefully change the opinion of Russian people too.”

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruling Emir of Qatar, praised FIFA for “believing in change”. Al Thani, who was in Zurich for the announcement, added: “We have worked very hard over past two years to get to this point. Today we celebrate, but tomorrow, the work begins. We acknowledge there is a lot of work for us to do, but we also stand by our promise that we will deliver.” Qatar urged FIFA to take “a bold gamble” by hosting the event in the Middle East for the first time. While only 1.7 million people live in Qatar, the bid representatives said that football is popular there. It was thought that there may be concerns that the extreme heat in Qatar would put the delegates off. Hassan Al-Thawadi, the chief executive of the bid, played down the fears. “We know it would be a bold gamble and an exciting prospect but with no risk,” he said. “Heat is not and will not be an issue.”

“Everyone is celebrating in the Middle East; everyone was behind us since the very beginning. They believed in us the whole way. And I’m so glad FIFA believed in us as well,” Al Thani added. “I’m speechless, but very proud and happy. I’m so proud that the Middle East was recognised by FIFA. We are so privileged to have a tournament like this coming to our region for the first time. It shows the value of FIFA and what it stands for as an organisation. As I promised, we will not let FIFA down. Everything we have promised until now will become a reality.” Speaking about why Qatar won the bid, he said: “What made us different is that we pushed the boundaries; we created new concepts, things which were not conventional but still very possible, very realistic for a country like ours. Therefore we are very proud to represent a new era, a new age for FIFA to look towards the future—the World Cup is for everyone.

There was disappointment in the countries which were beaten by Russia and Qatar. “Naturally we are hugely disappointed. At the same time we gave it our best shot,” said England ambassador Gary Lineker. “It was very well presented by our bid team. All you can do is wish Russia well and hope they have a really good World Cup but I wish it was us.” A journalist in Spain reported that there was “bitter disappointment here amongst Spanish fans,” and added that the economic crisis in the country may have been to blame. American supporters watching on large screens in Washington, D.C. were, when it was announced Qatar had won, “simply stunned—no booing or tears, but disbelief; and then a minute later, every face shows honest disappointment,” a BBC correspondent said.

The managing director for the Spain-Portugal joint bid, Miguel Angel Lopez, commented on losing out to Russia. “FIFA thought it was better to promote football in other latitudes and there we are,” he said. “The decision is focused on taking football to regions which have never held a World Cup.” Former Belgian footballer Marc Wilmots said: “Russia is a political choice and Qatar is an economic choice. You can say that to some extent the sport has been the loser with the decision for these two World Cups.”

We had heard people say our bid was too soon so it’s possible that was the reason. We knew it would be tough but it’s still a big disappointment.

Howard Stringer, Japan’s bid chairman and CEO of Sony said: “We had it in 2002—that was too big a mountain to climb. I was hoping we could get Japan another mission—the chance to do something spectacular in technology for society.” The vice-president of the Japan Football Association Kuniya Daini added: “We had heard people say our bid was too soon so it’s possible that was the reason. We knew it would be tough but it’s still a big disappointment. We have set a target of hosting the World Cup alone by 2050 so we will be bidding again.” The Australian Sports Minister Mark Arbib told local media: “We’re all pretty shattered over here. It was a bit unexpected because we thought we had run a first-class campaign to win. We did our best … unfortunately it wasn’t the case.”

Making the announcement, Blatter said: “We have had four bidders for 2018 and we can have only one winner. Three of the bidding associations must go home saying ‘what a pity’. But they must say football is not only by winning but football is also a school of life where you learn to lose. That’s not easy.” The 2010 World Cup was held earlier this year in South Africa, and Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup. When the bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments were announced in March 2009, Blatter praised the number of countries who wanted to host. “We are very pleased about the fantastic level of interest in our flagship competition, with all initial bidders confirming their candidature.”

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