World Cup 2018

Thursday is a big day. One of the biggest days of my life. In the top 20 anyway. On Thursday, in Zurich, FIFA will announce who will host the 2018 World Cup. England are one of the four candidates, and one of three who have a genuine chance of winning – the Holland/Belgium bid is very much an outsider.

If England were to win it would be the first time in more than 50 years since the world’s biggest sporting event has returned to the birthplace of the game. If we lose, I would be in my 50′s before another chance came around. It’s a big day.

England have been big favourites to win the hosting rights for most of the bidding process. FIFA have previously stated that joint bids, such as the Holland/Belgium and Spain/Portugal bids, were not favoured. The other candidate, Russia, has serious issues. Not least because of the logistics of hosting an event over such a huge area. There’s also the issue of stadiums – Russia will need to build 13 of them from scratch. England, on the other hand, could host the tournament tomorrow.

And yet, as the final vote draws near, England’s chances have slipped. Why? Because English reporters identified a number of corrupt FIFA officials, two of whom had voting rights. They correctly identified them – six members were suspended. Were FIFA grateful to have the bad eggs fingered?

Nope. They were forced to go through the process of suspensions of the members involved, but are furious that the English media put them in the spotight in the first place. Statements have filtered out that the revelations have harmed England’s candidacy. A strange reaction – unless they are all corrupt. One is left to assume they are. And England’s bid now hangs in the balance.

FIFA aren’t fit to run a sport. But such is life. One can only hope that the voting members remember that their duty is to cast their ballot for the best bid, and not the bid that put most cash in their pocket. And that they remember that votes shouldn’t be cast to spite a few individuals, but for the joy of an entire population.

Spain and Portugal, I know, would love to host the event. But should such a massive event with massive costs be given to two members of the PIGS, who may (will probably) need bailing out by other EU members in the not so distant future. That would be galling – for the English taxpayer to effectively be paying Spain to host the World Cup.

England’s bid video is below. But there are other videos worth watching. An unofficial England bid video is pretty funny. Finally, the one bit of hope we have – Paul the Octopus, may he rest in peace, selected England as the winners of the hosting competition before he popped his clogs suckers. Come on England!

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20 comments

  1. I have no doubt that England is the best candidate of them all and I really hope FIFA delegates understand this and vote accordingly. That said, I found the official video to be extremely lame. I just hope it was for domestic consumption and not intended for voting-motivation purposes.

    Bob

    1. You just never know. It may be a good sign that Putin isn’t going to the ceremony, given that he was believed to be only prepared to go if the Russian bid was certain to win.

      Well, only a few hours to go till we find out.

    1. Someone did suggest, with the implication that there was a bit of advanced sour grapes in my condemnation, that England might not win because it wasn’t believed to be the best bid.

      He’s not entirely wrong. I would be a bit sour, but justifiably so in my opinion. And maybe the voters would genuinely believe a different bit to be the best. But the problem with a secret vote is that we’ll never know. The voting process needs transparency. Each voters ballot needs to be made public, and there should be reasoning attached to it.

  2. Hi Gary!
    I have no doubt the World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world yet everytime I hear the claim it surprises me. I’m sure it’s true but in North America, soccer, or football as you call it, is pretty far removed from the sports scene except for once every four years! I hope you get it. My wife is British. I’ve never been. Might be a good excuse to go. Any idea when the final decision will be made?

    1. I understand your footballing ignorance! I’ve been to the US and seen the blank stares when I bring the subject up. Although it is the most played sport in the US for kids as I understand it.

      Bet you didn’t know the world’s second most popular sport is cricket…

      The decision will be made tomorrow. Crossed fingers for Engerland.

  3. Gary,
    I happen to live in “Soccer Central” here in NC. Perennial Collegiate powerhouse UNC is just “down the road aways”, in Chapel hill! We have a pro team in town ( went to league finals – lost to PR on arregate (3-2))! We have a national Soccer Centre here in Cary and it is holding the NCAA Championships!
    Overall, 22 MILLION play the game on an organized, weekly basis, and the number of pick-up games keep the pitches occupied on a regular schedule. We also have indoor leagues that are packed during the colder months!
    The BEST Attended Cup was here in 1994 with over 50 million through the gates!
    OK, so in reality more locals can give you the starting lineups of the Duke, UNC, and State basketball teams than our 1st Division Railhawks, but shortly(sometime in the next 20 years) people will know the stars of the MLS teams as easily as the Lakers, Celtics or Heat! Maybe at the next World Cup, my neighbor won’t ask me why Beckham isn’t on the US Squad – he plays for the Galaxy don’t he?
    Cheers!
    Dan in NC
    We can only hope…
    Dan in NC

    1. There was a World cup in the US in ’94? England didn’t qualify for that one so I lost interest… :)

      Only kidding…it was a well organised WC. I hope the US gets the ’22 WC, if only because the alternatives are so poor.

  4. Don’t worry Gary, the WC is alredy for England, FIFA always goes with the money and right now is in the Premier League.

    England REALLY deserves another WC, another chance for cheating in the final with ghost goals…. :D

      1. Well it didn’t happen. It is about money, I’m sure. But not about cash generation for FIFA so much. More about how much cash the voters can line their own pockets with.

  5. Both of them. I remember Bill Archer (at bigsoccer.com) predicted this outcome last May and when I first read it I thought it was total crap. But there you have it.

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