Thursday, December 2, 2010

2018 & 2022

Congratulations are in order, I think, to this place:


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...and to this place:


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Why, you ask? Because of this!

Russia getting the World Cup makes perfect sense. The event has never been held in Eastern Europe, to begin with. Furthermore, the award comes at a time when Russian soccer is on the rise, both internationally and at club level. Yes, Russia failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, but that was viewed as a shock, where once it would have been accepted with a shrug. Finally, Russia should have no difficulty getting infrastructure together.

Qatar's win is a bit more of a puzzle. The economics of the thing should be no problem - Qatar is a very rich place, and the stadia they intend to build are gorgeous. However, it's a tiny country (this is going to be the most compact World Cup ever), and FIFA itself has raised concerns about the summer heat - concerns that the Qataris have responded to by promising air-conditioned stadia.

In both cases, however, I must say that I think FIFA got it right, with all due respect to the other countries who are bidding. The first ever Eastern European World Cup, to be followed by the first ever Middle Eastern World Cup? Sounds good to me.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

The folks on Sports Illustrated are not pleased - lots of allegations of corruption, etc. This is in keeping with their general sore-loserness (see Cup, Ryder)

I can see potential for both events to be very exciting for international soccer!!