YESTERDAY (2 December) the world found out that the 2018 FIFA World Cup was to be held in Russia, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup was to be held in Qatar.
They triumphed in the second round of voting by gaining the magic number of 13 votes. The joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium received seven and two votes respectively. But England crashed out in the first round of voting, only gaining two votes (and one of those votes came from the English FIFA delegate).
How on God’s Earth can the strongest bid of them all get just two votes?! All we would need to do was to expand a couple of stadiums and we’d be laughing. Earlier this week FIFA gave the England bid 100/100 in every one of their criteria. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said in the past that England could host a World Cup tomorrow.
So where did it all go wrong? Well I think that FIFA has been exposed as the lying and fixed organisation that it is. The English press has exposed bribery and corruption amongst the FIFA executive committee and FIFA didn’t like it. I also think that these FIFA members don’t give a damn about who they stab in the back. At least five of the committee members ‘assured’ both David Beckham and PRINCE WILLIAM (of all people) that England had their votes. England’s presentation speech was also said to have been the best but it all counted for absolutely nothing.
Anyway, Russia will be hosting it’s (and Eastern Europe’s) first ever World Cup and travelling fans can look forward to the institutionalised racism that is in Russian football. Earlier in the year Lokomotiv Moscow fans unveiled a banner aimed at their former black player and now West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie. Said banner depicted a Banana. The head of the Russian bid, Alexey Sorokin said that: “To receive a Banana is a Russian way of saying ‘you’re a failure’.”
But (and you’ll love this) a Lokomotiv fan who I shall not name replied with this: “Sorokin has told the world that there was no racism in the banner. He described the message as the Russian saying ‘to receive a banana’ signifying a big failure but not racist. I never heard of this saying before.” He continued to say: “We drew the banana as a reference to Odemwingie’s African roots. Every black in Russia is often called ‘monkey’. I believe that Russian fans are racists deep in their souls.” Can you imagine the first game of the 2018 World Cup being Russia vs. somebody like Ghana or Cameroon? I’d be pretty shocked if we didn’t see banners in the same vain as below at that game.
To show you just how fixed I think this vote was; when David Beckham, PM David Cameron and HRH Prince William were in Zurich trying in vain to boost England’s chances, Russian PM Vladimir Putin was in a meeting about Russia’s health service. When Russia was announced as the winner he immediately flew to Zurich. I have heard that he was told 24 hours in advance that Russia had won – but don’t take my word for it. Also, England’s bid was all over the news in the days before the vote, but on the day of the vote in Russia their bid and the vote was just an And Finally segment on their news agenda. And another thing, World Cup stadia are meant to be scattered all over the host country right, yet the people in Vladivostok wouldn’t be watching any matches in their city.
Anyway, 2018 rant over, now it’s time for the 2022 rant.
Qatar of all countries! What the hell was wrong with the U.S.A.’s bid?! The last time America hosted the World Cup in 1994 it smashed attendance records and made FIFA a huge sum of money (just as England would have done in 2018, well money wise anyway). Australia would have put on a great show, just look at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney or the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Even Japan and South Korea could have put on a good World Cup even though it would have been just 20 years since they co-hosted it together.
But no, FIFA decided to pick a country that has never ever even qualified for a World Cup and has only ever reached the Quarter-Finals of the Asian Cup once back in 2000. Qatar has only ever hosted the Asian Cup once back in 1988, but are coincidently (ha ha yeah right) hosting the tournament next month (January 2011). The national side is ranked a lowly 113th in the world between the Central African Republic and Thailand. Qatar is also an Arab country (so no drinking or sleeping around westerners) and is just half the size of Wales and has a population of fewer than 1.7 million. With all the fans and teams and reporters coming to stay for a month will everybody be able to fit on the island?
Isn’t it funny how the two countries with the weakest (in my eyes) bids yet are rich in gas and oil win the rights to host the World Cup?
Although I will say this in support for Qatar. When the World Cup has finished they will demolish the new stadia and transport them piece by piece to countries in the developing world. A great gift to the footballing world, but I thought you were meant to leave a lasting legacy in your own country?
The sad thing about all this for England is that now the next chance we have of hosting the World Cup is in 2030. China have said that they would like to host the tournament in 2026, but don’t be surprised if it is award to the Principality of Sealand (the former WW2 Mansell Sea Fort six miles of the cost of Suffolk) in the name of expanding the global game.
But justice may be done. 2030 is the 100th anniversary of the first ever World Cup in Uruguay, and nothing would give me greater satisfaction than having England hosting the Centenary World Cup.
After all, we only gave the world the game it loves.