Friday, January 14, 2011
December 2, 2010
FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the committee announced on December 2, 2010 the winning bids for World Cups 2018 and 2022. As the anxious bidding committees sat together in FIFA's Zurich convention center like film crews at the Oscars, the results were, to put it bluntly, odd and unexpected. David Beckham and all of England collectively whined, Bill Clinton, Drew Carey and the hodgepodge American bid committee were all left in obligatory applause while the Russians and the Qataris burst with delight. The Russian victory was only a mild surprise—they have top-notch stadium, financial security (Roman Abramovich, that's all you need to say), and Andrei Arshavin. Qatar? Well, they have oil, nice hotels, and camel. Their footballing tradition is in its fetal stage, and to FIFA, it was a vote nodding their heads at promise and potential rather than proven ability and tradition.