For the game. For the world.
Today the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (‘FIFA‘) announced its Executive Committee has chosen Russia to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. The 2022 FIFA World Cup™ was awarded to Qatar. The announcement took place at Zurich’ Messezentrum.
England and Russia plus two joint bids from Netherlands/Belgium and Spain/Portugal were contesting the 2018 decision.
Earlier, Prince William had spearheaded England’s final attempts to land the World Cup.
The future King of England delivered a strong speech as the bid team produced an impressive final presentation on the morning of today’s key vote.
Russia presented itself as a huge nation which had never before staged the World Cup, contrasting it with western Europe where all the major nations have staged the event.
Alexei Sorokin, the Russian bid’s CEO, began by quoting Winston Churchill’s famous description of Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”
He said: “We can understand this perception that foreigners have but it’s a Russia…that no longer exists.”
Five candidates were bidding to stage the 2022 edition of the world’s greatest sporting event. As well as eventual winners Qatar, Australia, Korea Republic, Japan and USA also submitted bids for the highly-sought after hosting rights. USA, Japan and Korea had all previously staged the FIFA World Cup™ finals, with Japan and Korea becoming the tournament’s first joint-hosts back in 2002. The 1994 finals took place in the USA.
The Asian country’s staging of the tournament had come in for some criticism because of the weather in the country during June and July – when temperatures can rise as high as 50 degrees Celsius – while the close proximity of the stadiums had also raised some questions.
You have entrusted us with the FIFA World Cup for 2018 and I can promise that you will never regret it. Let us make history together: Igor Shuvalov, Russia’s deputy prime minister.
Thank you for believing in change, for expanding the game and for giving Qatar a chance (…) You will be proud of us and you will be proud of the Middle East. I promise you this: Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani.
December 2nd, 2010.