FIFA president Sepp Blatter today announced that Russia and Qatar will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments following two days of presentations in Zurich.
“I have to say thanks to to the Executive Committee of FIFA because for 2018 and 2022 we go to new lands, because the FIFA World Cup has never been in eastern Europe or the Middle East,” said Blatter.
“So, I’m a happy president when we speak of the development of football.”
“But I have to give big compliments to all the bidders for the big job they have done and the messages they have delivered. All have delivered the message that football is more than just a game. Football is not only about winning; it is also a school of life where you must learn to lose, and that is not easy.”
England, who had been praised heavily by Blatter went out in the first round of voting for 2018 much to the disappointment of Prince William, Prime Minister David Cameron, David Beckham and the rest of their delegation.
Joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Holand/Belgium also lost out, while Australia and the USA were among those overlooked for World Cup 2022.
Russia’s bid chief executive Alexei Sorokin said: “We deserve it, we represent part of the world which has never hosted the World Cup – with the former Soviet republics we represent 200 million people.”
Qatar, who are currently ranked 113th in FIFA’s World Rankings, are in the process of constructing stadiums that will be able to cope with the soaring summer temperatures that can peak at over 50 degrees celcius during the day.
“Thank you for believing in change, for expanding the game and for giving Qatar a chance,” said Qatar bid president Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani.
“You will be proud of us – and you will be proud of the Middle East. I promise you this.”