Friday, 3 December 2010

Football's coming ho... oh wait.

So in case you didn't hear, England didn't win the right to host the 2018 World Cup. It's not big news. Now before I start rambling about the choices made by FIFA I want to say that i'm not anti-English. A lot of my friends are English and to be anti-England would be an insult to them and a testament to my poor skills in choosing friends.

I want to start by saying that FIFA is corrupt, it always has been and until there is a massive overhaul in world football, it always will be. The problem now is that we will fail to look past this corruption when considering their decision to award the 2018 tournament to Russia and to some extent, the 2022 tournament to Qatar. The knee-jerk reaction so far seems to be that both tournaments were awarded to oil rich countries who suited FIFA's less than trustworthy nature.

Admittedly I am somewhat disappointed that England didn't win, but I feel that FIFA have stuck by their word and motto. Sepp Blatter has set out from the beginning of his tenure to strive to take the tournament to places it hasn't been before. He took it to Korea/Japan in 2002 for the first Asian World Cup, he then took it to South Africa for the first African World Cup 8 years later. As much as one can hate FIFA (and Blatter), by choosing Russia over England, they yet again have taken the steps to spreading football's global reach even further. At the end of the day, they are going to make an absolute fortune out of the World Cup wherever it takes place so in a way it's a good thing that it's happening in a place that needs it more in footballing terms. Some say England would not represent a challenge in terms of staging a world tournament, whereas Russia and Qatar would.

I am amazed that England only got two votes in the election process, I thought for sure they stood a better chance than Holland/Belgium and Spain/Portugal. I'm not quite sure what went so wrong, although it seems people are blaming the Panorama corruption programme. There is a chance that this bid has been doomed from the start. Remember when Lord Triesman resigned? As much as we can throw around accusations underhanded tactics to both Russia and Qatar, England is no golden cherub either.

Paul Harris of the Daily Mail offers a mildy racist insight into why he thinks England lost the bid:

Surely one of England's strong points would be the global popularity of it's domestic game?

When it comes to the 2022 decision, I was surprised that Australia did so badly in the voting- they were rumoured to have only got one vote. Qatar will have to build 9 new stadiums for the tournament, which seems to be a big talking point regarding why they shouldn't have won it, however people seemed to have already forgotten that South Africa built 5 new venues and spent upwards of $2 billion in total on stadia.

Russia and Qatar are probably financially the most suited to hosting a World Cup, and judging by some of the stadium plans they are both planning to spend a huge amount of money which surely is good for anyone planning to attend. There have also been suggestions that Russia and Qatar were the happiest with signing the tax-free agreement for FIFA, which is why they won. However, in the Panorama programme Andrew Jennings divulged that EVERY bidder had to sign off on this agreement. FIFA is a business. Therefore as disgraceful as it is that they plan to make any host nation into a tax haven it would be a good business decision.

When we accuse FIFA of choosing two corrupt nations with a less than perfect human-rights track record over the home of football and the likes of Australia, lets remember they have just staged a World Cup in South Africa and the next is due to be in Brazil. It hardly comes as a surprise.

On a personal note it is a shame the earliest a World Cup will be on home soil is 2030, however these will be the 3rd and 4th new host nations since Blatter took over in 1998 and FIFA's official motto is "For The Game. For The World". Hard to argue with that.

I'll leave you with some links to some pretty mind-blowing stadium plans: