The 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be played in temperatures of 35 below and 135 degrees, respectively (if our national stereotypes are still accurate). They will also go to countries with reputations for corruption. It didn't stop us from watching.
Nobody knows how to present an inherently boring announcement like FIFA. Celebrities, shiny sets, Swiss accents; everyone I know was watching this morning's announcement of World Cup host nations, which really only consisted of two words that everyone was waiting to hear and could have been done in a press release. Those words turned out to be "Russia" and "Qatar." Huh.
Two nation rich in oil but with a dearth of usable venues. FIFA, an organization so linked with corruption that they felt the need to deny it in advance of today's announcement. A vote audited not by a large international accounting firm, but by the public notary of Zurich.
Are you upset by the outcome? That's like getting upset over the outcome of a pro wrestling match.
FIFA's reasoning for their selections will be predictable. Russia and the Middle East are large "white spots" on the soccer map, where the game wishes to make inroads. It's the same reasoning that gave the games to South Africa in 2010 and Korea/Japan in 2002 and the US in 1994. And, you know, that's fine. FIFA's got to do what's best for their bottom line, just as some will surmise the voters did what was best for their personal bottom lines in the short term.
Qatar 2022. Huh. To remind everyone, here are their plans for their new stadiums.
Beautiful. Futuristic. Pipe dreams. Even with all the money in the world, they'll never get their brick-and-mortar stadiums to resemble an architect's dream. Right now let's just pray they put roofs on all the stadiums to avoid killing the players in the desert heat.
It's disappointing for those of us in the US. Yes, we had the Cup 16 years ago, but soccer has come an awful long way since then (in no small part because we hosted the Cup). Our next shot is in 2026, which sounds so far away. I'd be 42 years old. Christ. And we'll likely have to compete with Western Europe.
At this point, let's put our energies toward hoping we get put in the host nation's group in 2022.