Russia to host FIFA World Cup in 2018, Qatar in 2022
The world's biggest sporting event continued its spread to new corners of the globe Thursday as Russia and Qatar were named as hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup soccer tournaments.
The fallout from the announcements in Zurich included a setback in soccer development for the United States, which lost its attempt to host the 2022 World Cup despite having an apparently superior technical bid. That tournament was awarded instead to Qatar, the oil-rich nation in the Persian Gulf, meaning the World Cup will make its inaugural appearance in the Middle East.
"We go to new lands," Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, the sport's world governing body, told Reuters. "Never has the World Cup been in Russia and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and Arabic world has been waiting for a long time. So I'm a happy president when we talk about the development of football."
FIFA is an insular body, frequently criticized for its lack of transparency. Thursday's votes by FIFA's executive committee were conducted in secret. It was impossible to discern fully the motives of Blatter and his colleagues. Russia to host FIFA World Cup in 2018, Qatar in 2022