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Newspapers termed the decision to award Russia and Qatar rights to host 2018, and 2022 editions of the world cup as ventures into the unknown. These decisions were met with jubilation as emphasized by Zidane’s reaction when he termed it a victory for the Arab world. This award was a significant step forward since the committee considered Qatar as a representative of the Arab-speaking nations and disregarded their physical size and geographical location (Bairner, 2010).
The competition they faced
Russia’s competitors included England, a combination of Portugal and Spain; furthermore, Holland, and Belgium equally placed their bid. This is because the advanced nature of their domestic leagues implies that they own well-built stadia and matching infrastructure. Qatar, on the other hand, came up against Australia, which covers a larger area and has tropical climatic patterns, as opposed to the desert heat in Qatar. It is worth mentioning other entities, which placed their bids, including Korea, Japan, and America. It is affirmed that they all had prior experience in hosting the tournament.
Justification for awarding the bid
The decision to award Qatar hosting rights was proper since the country is centrally placed. This factor guarantees easy accessibility for all the fans. In addition, the country has a vibrant economy, which ranks among the strongest in the region. This makes it easy for them to construct stadia and improve on the existing infrastructure before the tournament commences. It is further affirmed that the country has the capacity to build new stadia and accommodation facilities due to its vibrant economy. Finally, the country promised to utilize technology and build cooling facilities for the players and fans using solar energy.
As expected, there was a furor after the selection of Russia as hosts. Several high profile figures, including Arsene Wenger and Gerard Houllier, called for a review of the allocation process. A majority of the leading dailies were unequivocal about their displeasure following their loss. Most of them alluded to the existence of schemes and underhand dealings in the process. In all honesty, England was the best option in terms of technical ability and delivery capacity, a fact that made it hard for them to stomach the fact that another bid was favored. This was captured clearly by one journal, which alleged, “FIFA’s choice of giant Russia instead of England was expected and looks logical,” with reference to financial implications (Greenslade, 2010).
America’s reaction towards the nomination of Qatar came out clearly after President Obama’s sentiments when he termed it a wrong decision. Other officials termed it “a setback from moving the sport in the right direction” (Slater, 2010). The general feeling was that they were better placed to stage a successful event since they hosted a thriving tournament a few years earlier (Slater, 2010).
American diplomats also weighed in on the argument, claiming that the state-owned Al-Jazeera network played an integral role in influencing public opinion. Leaked cables report that the nation’s premier aired complaints. These complaints pertained to a lack of cooperation exuded by the channel on numerous occasions. This is in contrast with the ideals of a free press, which are championed by the free world and humanitarian organizations.
The steps applied by FIFA in awarding ‘outside’ nations the rights to host these tournaments are divisive topics. While everyone deserves the privilege to declare their support or disquiet, complaints at this stage are unlikely to be noted. Consequently, it is advisable for all parties to join hands and strive to ensure the chosen host nations deliver exceptional tournaments.
Bairner, R. (2010). Zinedine Zidane Sees Qatar Winning 2022 World Cup As A ‘Victory The Arab World’. Goal. Web.
Greenslade, R. (2010). We were robbed! How the papers reacted to the World Cup rejection. The Guardian. Web.
Slater, J. (2010). Obama calls FIFA choice of Qatar “wrong decision”. AFP. Web.