England hosts of the World Cup 2018. It has a ring to it. Or does it? Not a very loud one in the opinion of the current crop of FIFA delegates. A first round exit, the fourth worst (or last) bid. Russia will host the World Cup in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. Neither of these countries have ever hosted the biggest football tournament in the world; some would say biggest sporting event on the planet. Neither of these countries had very good technical bids. Russia still needs to build the majority of the stadia, the same with Qatar. There will be huge concerns about the logistics of hosting a tournament over 11 time-zones.
Forget quality, it seems FIFA have taken the decision to opt for legacy. As the Russian’s rightly focused on, Eastern Europe has lost 10-0 to Western Europe in the World Cup Hosting Premiership. The Middle East has never even come close to hosting the tournament, so selecting Qatar is bathed in the globalisation of FIFA footballing legacy. They do have form. Japan and South Korea in 2002; South Africa this year. If the main criteria for selection is legacy, please FIFA, from this day forward, do the decent thing and let the other bidding nations know beforehand. It’s only polite. £30 million has been spent on this bid by England 2018 and similar amounts from other nations. They never really stood any chance of beating Legacy United. No matter how suited or how good the comparative bids, we were swimming against the trend. There may be a time, after Andorra 2118, when we’ll stand a realistic chance of winning. Until then, unless we have cast iron guarantees beforehand, I’d say we would be better off letting other countries who’ve hosted the tournament previously swim against the tide. Sit back and save the money. You can’t beat history. You can’t beat The Blatter. You can’t beat free speech, a free press or the virtues of exposing corruption. Just don’t bother bidding if they are going to be your priorities.
By George Allwell