FIFA World Cup: Russia 2018, Qatar 2022

Published: December 2, 2010
Qatar’s successful bid came as the biggest shock of the evening in Zurich but means that an Arab state will host football’s premier event for the first time in the tournament’s history. PHOTO: AFP

Qatar’s successful bid came as the biggest shock of the evening in Zurich but means that an Arab state will host football’s premier event for the first time in the tournament’s history. PHOTO: AFP

Qatar’s successful bid came as the biggest shock of the evening in Zurich but means that an Arab state will host football’s premier event for the first time in the tournament’s history. PHOTO: AFP FIFA President Sepp Blatter holds up the name of Russia during the official announcement of the 2018 World Cup host country on December 2, 2010 at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich. PHOTO: AFP

Russia and the tiny Gulf state of Qatar were awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups after an acrimonious bidding war marred by allegations of corruption and illegal deal-making.

The bombshell conclusion to two years of frenzied lobbying saw Fifa supremo Sepp Blatter reveal the winners after a secret ballot of 22 Fifa executive committee members in Zurich.

The announcement means the World Cup will be staged in two countries which have never hosted the event before following the 2014 tournament in Brazil. Russia prevailed in the 2018 race, upsetting England and bids from Spain and Portugal, and Belgium and the Netherlands.

Putin gives temporary worries

The outcome represented a stunning comeback for Russia, whose campaign had believed to be in trouble after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declined to join the lobbying effort in Zurich. Putin had also launched a stinging attack on England’s bid on the eve of the vote, accusing the country’s media of “smearing” officials.

But the shock of the day came in the 2022 race, where Qatar beat off competition from the US, Australia and South Korea and Japan in a remarkable result. Qatar 2022 bid president Mohammed bin Hamadal Thani promised, “We won’t let you down. You will be proud of us, proud of the Middle East.”

Qatar’s win came despite reservations being raised about the logistical problems of staging the tournament in the searing heat. Although the Qataris have promised to build an array of state of the art stadia which are climate-controlled, the technology has never been tested on a large-scale before.

England bid team dejected

England 2018 officials declined to respond to the criticism, but were left dejected after launching a heavyweight increasingly optimistic after lobbying offensive led by Prime Minister David Cameron, heir to the throne Prince William and football icon David Beckham. All three men took to the stage to appeal for the tournament.

“I love football, we love football and that’s why it would’ve  been such an honour to host it,” said Prince William. Beckham apologised to his countrymen and said, “Apologies we couldn’t bring the World Cup to our country. There are no more passionate fans in the world than England.”

Controversial votes

The results brought the curtain down on the most controversial World Cup votes in years, with Fifa facing myriad of allegations of corruption which led to two executive committee members being suspended. Blatter acknowledged that the decision to stage votes for two tournaments at the same time was a mistake, making illegal horse-trading between bids inevitable.

Qatar’s Hamadal Thani

“We won’t let you down. You will be proud of us, proud of the Middle East as we host the World Cup. We are offering Fifa a historic opportunity to expand the frontiers of the World Cup.”

Russia’s Igor Shuvalov

“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 as we host the World Cup.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2010.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Sami
    Dec 2, 2010 - 8:54PM

    Im glad England didnt get it, atleast its easier for us to get a Russian visa :DRecommend

  • IZ
    Dec 2, 2010 - 9:00PM

    Good for Qatar – would love to go to the WC there as long as the middle east still hasnt erupted into nuclear war by that time!Recommend

  • affie
    Dec 2, 2010 - 9:10PM

    why Qatar???Recommend

  • Salman
    Dec 2, 2010 - 9:34PM

    What a letdown..guess Russia’s bid was simple “give us WC or we will stop your gas”.
    Qatar’s one is the real shocker, pleasantly though. Recommend

  • zaigham
    Dec 2, 2010 - 9:36PM

    how on earth are they going to fill up the stadiums?
    why not buy some robots and fill the stadiums with them…
    would greatly add to the experiment of controlling the climate…Recommend

  • stone age
    Dec 2, 2010 - 9:59PM

    haha @ samii well said ;)Recommend

  • Khalid
    Dec 2, 2010 - 11:03PM

    Its really a pleasant devlopment for the muslim world.Recommend

  • Amer
    Dec 3, 2010 - 9:21AM

    The people who are bashing the Qatari bid don’t understand the geography and the love for football in the middle east. Qatar is building a ~40KM causway to Bahrain, which will connect it to Saudi Arabia via high speed rail and road. 2022 is 12 years away and Qatar has alot of transport projects in the pipeline. FIFA is taking risks with all the countries that have never hosted the world cup and I am sure they would all be a huge success. Recommend

  • MAD
    Dec 3, 2010 - 10:04AM


    You may not be aware of the fact that the Middle East is football crazy. they dont play that well but they have the cash to come and watch.Recommend

  • Dec 3, 2010 - 12:29PM

    Earlier this year, Qatar sponsored Pakistani children from Swat to visit South Africa and experience the magic that is World Cup. I guess people need to Google Qatar’s bid out and check what they are promising.Recommend

  • GH
    Dec 3, 2010 - 2:04PM

    I think both selection were a fair choice, Europe is bit crowded and their will be transportation problem.
    its fantastic to watch what Middle East will present this time.
    I think in Few Years Qatar is going to be a good place for all sports!Recommend

  • zaigham
    Dec 4, 2010 - 12:34AM

    at MAD:
    I am aware, but you do not seem to be aware of the population of Qatar.

    They would have to bring each and every soul in most of the cities to watch the match every day. For some they would have to think about short-term migration. Or better, create temporary cities in the wilderness. Get people to live there for the entire duration of the world. Wow… this is something that has never been tried before.

    The have a lot of cash. The can make stadiums (some would be in wilderness, i think), what are they going to with them afterwards? I think Australia should have been given to host the WC.

    I think sensible thing would have been to get UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait make a combined bid. But anyways, common sense is not that common.Recommend

  • Dec 4, 2010 - 2:48AM

    And I know exactly WHY Russia and Qatar won: Recommend

  • MAD
    Dec 4, 2010 - 9:41AM

    When I said Middle East i meant the Middle East. All GCC countries have visa free travel my friend. Even the expats can travel to GCC countries easily (excepting Saudi Arabia). now do the math. the populatioon of Qatar is 1,.6 Million but when you factor in the middle east thats a whole lot of people.

    as far as the stadiums go if you had bothered to find out about the Qatari bid you would hjave noticed the part where the cdountry proposes to build stadiums in a manner to permit them to be dismantled and shipped to other developing nations. part of the plan to explore new avenues for the game. Yes it was a high risk bid but obviously some things did make sense.Recommend

  • zaigham
    Dec 4, 2010 - 9:49PM

    at MAD:
    You mean they are actually banking on Middle East population for the matches?
    Wow… what a plan. Now, I’m impressed and you are already I take.
    They should have made a combined bid then.
    Apparently, these emirates like to do things alone.
    After all money is power and add inches… ROFL…

    Shipped to developing nations…
    Please tell me you don’t really believe that…

    Australia was robbed as money spelt out its choice.
    Age finally seem to be getting to Blatter…Recommend

  • Naumaan
    Dec 7, 2010 - 7:25PM

    Its fantastic news and lets see how Qatar will manage as Middle East is famous of its hot weather too.

    World Cup 2022: Qatar to use cruise ship for World Cup accommodation

  • stuntman
    Dec 22, 2010 - 2:38AM

    I think Qatar is going to have the shock of it’s enitre history when millions of europeans get to their country and act exactly like they do at every other world cup. Hooliganism (I don’t condone it but it happens), people walking around without tops on, drinking, men and women kissing in public and possible homoseuality….all things which don’t really happen in Muslim countries. Above all I can’t see Qatar jailing millions of people because thats what theyll have to do if they go my the letter of their own Sharia laws. Should be interesing I think Qatar might have got the wrong end of the bargain in this deal in more than one way.Recommend

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