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FIFA World Cup: Russia and Qatar Win Rights to Host 2018 and 2022 Tournaments

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FIFA World Cup: Russia and Qatar Win Rights to Host 2018 and 2022 Tournaments
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Russia and Qatar delegations celebrate victory

FIFA, the international governing body of football, have decided that Russia and Qatar have won the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively.

Yes, as you and I watched tentatively at the TV screens, waiting for the expected names of England or Spain/Portugal for 2018 and Australia or USA for 2022, FIFA pulled a surprise on each and every one of us.

Surely, this is a farce.

Where do I start in the backlash? Yes, the British media may not have helped the England 2018 World Cup bid, with regular allegations in the press about FIFA members and the bidding process.

However, to host the World Cup in a country like Russia that has hardly any infrastructure in place, political misdemeanours on a regular basis and a transport system that is so bad that it is virtually nonexistent in parts of the country, you start to wonder whether this whole thing has been rigged.

Added to the undeniable problems of timing that Russia have in the country (some parts of Russia are in different time zones), it is hard to put together a strong argument that suggests Russia deserve the World Cup. The only one that I can see is their promotional video, which I deemed to be the best. However, this is the only aspect which was better than England and Spain/Portugal.

England, a country that has the infrastructure already in place for the majority of event stadia, a fantastic transport system already in place and frankly a country that can host the World Cup tomorrow, was apparently beaten in the very first round.

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Yes, this is an embarrassment to a country that prides itself on its football tradition and heritage.

However, surely we should've beaten the Russians. Our main stadia are already in place, and we have the best watched league in the world in the Barclays Premier League.

"Football United, the World Invited" was supposed to pull us through and bring the World Cup back to a country where football began all those many moons ago.

Russian deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said, “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.”

History will indeed be made, as Russia becomes the first Eastern European country to host the World Cup, but certainly their hard work starts now. They have to build and develop 13 stadia, improve their transport system vastly and also ensure that they have enough accommodation and other infrastructure put in place to ensure the tournament is a success.

It is a big risk for FIFA.

But the BBC and Sunday Times revelations on the goings-on at FIFA have certainly put paid to our hopes and dreams of staging an event that would without doubt be one of the best ever. If the rumours are true that England finished behind the joint bid from Netherlands and Belgium, then a serious inquest into the failures of the bid will have to come to fruition.

Roll on to the 2022 World Cup decision: Here you had Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea and USA.

The Japanese and Korean bids were the underdogs, as they only hosted a World Cup tournament eight years ago. However, the favourites for the tournament in 2018 were Australia or USA: Two countries where football is developing at an alarming rate and two countries where the infrastructure, transport, accommodation, sightseeing and general all-round tourism was voted as a "fantastic" opportunity for FIFA to explore.

Sure, the Americans last hosted a World Cup not long ago in 1994, so surely the safest and most logic decision for FIFA to take was Australia, a country which could open up new grounds for FIFA President Sepp Blatter and co.

But no, FIFA had other ideas—and many can argue these ideas centred on money.

Yes, that’s right: money.

Everyone knows Qatar is a country rich in all walks of life. Their economy alone is flourishing, they own massive companies around the world thanks to their oil business and money is not an issue to them.

So surely, the only valid reason FIFA have for hosting the World Cup in this country is the capital investment the football governing body will gain from it.

It strikes me as very odd: How you can give a World Cup to a country that has never even qualified for a World Cup finals tournament before—a country whose football team in the FIFA world rankings languish in 113, below countries such as North Korea and Iceland.

Also, it is certainly odd that FIFA have given a country the World Cup when their bid was classed as "High Risk" due to the amount of work that has to be done.

Yet, FIFA believe that a World Cup in the Middle East can open new ground for them to prosper in. Well, if this is their policy, and the reason why Russia and Qatar have won the right for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, then why do we all bother to apply for them?

Because if FIFA say that they want to give countries the World Cup so they can improve their countries' economic states and improve the game of football, then the biggest show on earth will not be seen again in developed countries such as England, Spain, USA and Australia for a long time.

It remains to be seen whether these countries will deliver a World Cup that will showpiece what football is all about. However, time is on their side.

It also remains to be seen whether FIFA will come out from behind their shell and inform the world on the reasons behind choosing Russia and Qatar.

Whatever pathetic excuse they make up, there can be no denying that a World Cup in Russia and Qatar will be nowhere near as good as one being held in England, Spain/Portugal, Australia or America.

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