World Cup losers cry foul

Jubilant Russia estimate costs up to $50 billion.


Afp December 03, 2010

ZURICH: Fifa faces calls for radical reform after defeated challengers vented their anger over its decision to stage the 2018 and 2022 football World Cups in Russia and Qatar.

After a bitter bidding war tainted by corruption claims, questions were asked over how Russia would pay for the tournament and how teams would fare in Qatar’s searing summertime heat. Even President Barack Obama joined the backlash after the US missed out on the 2022 tournament; the head of the English bid for 2018 said that the current decision-making process was unsustainable.

Qatar’s selection provoked despair in Seoul, Sydney and Tokyo as years of campaigning ended in heartbreak and accusations of financial skullduggery. Japan and South Korea put forward strong cases to hold the event independently.

Russia, however, basked in the limelight, but media questioned how the country will pay the bill which they said could reach $50 billion. Vladimir Putin radiated confidence, portraying Russia as a country on the upturn.  “When Fifa makes a decision, it thinks of the political conditions in the country,” said Putin, estimating that the event will cost around $10 billion. “We have a stable political situation and our economy is developing rather well. We’ve enough money. Perhaps, we will need some consultations.”

Meanwhile, Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hailed the hosting wins and said: “I congratulate Fifa on choosing Russia and Qatar, and I think Fifa has shown wisdom.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2010.

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