As you know, the 2018 Men’s World Cup will be held in Russia, and the 2022 Men’s World Cup will be held in Qatar. This was followed immediately by accusations of collusion, bribery, and just plain wrongness.
But is that fair criticism? And what will the Russian and Qatari World Cups look like? These are important questions, and they should be answered, but you didn’t ask those questions. Instead, you sent a bunch of irrelevant questions to our very own bid process expert, “Dynamite Eating” Edvard van de Kamp, and he will now give us the answers.
Dear Edvard: Qatar?! What the fuck?
– Mark Bradley
Cincinnati, OH, USA
Dear Mark: In reality, Qatar has assembled a good bid. There are twelve modern stadiums and plans to build all of the remaining facilities needed, including training fields, hotels, media sites, and even a national passenger rail network.
Dear Edvard: Which was the best bid?
– LeShaun Mersay
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Dear LeShaun: The Dutch/Belgian bid, obviously. But if I couldn’t vote for it, I would have voted for England and the United States.
Dear Edvard: Wasn’t it a dumb idea to choose two World Cup hosts at once? The plan was that countries could bid for both at the same time and avoid having to duplicate paperwork, but it turned out that all of the non-European countries withdrew from the 2018 bidding. So shouldn’t FIFA stop choosing the World Cups that way?
– Charlie Anuquai
Dear Charlie: Yes. In 1966, FIFA selected the hosts for three future World Cups at once. Germany FR and Spain bid for both 1974 and 1982, whilst Argentina and Mexico bid for 1978. In the end, though, Spain withdrew from the 1974 campaign, in return for which Germany FR withdrew from the 1982 campaign. In addition, once Mexico won the right to host the 1970 tournament, it withdrew from the 1978 campaign. So in the end, all three tournaments had only one bidder each.
Therefore, we must conclude that awarding two tournaments at a time simply opens the door for political considerations, gamesmanship, and even quid pro quo voting, of which accusations have been circulating widely throughout this bidding process.
Dear Edvard: Were the details of each bid made public?
– Christie Albert
Dear Christie: Yes. The bids’ websites, which are linked from the Wikipedia page, show details of the respective bids, and you can also find FIFA’s bid evaluations, and videos of the bids’ final presentations, on FIFA’s website.
Dear Edvard: Russia sounds like an interesting place to hold a World Cup. Where would the games be played, and how far apart are the cities?
– Samantha Adderley
Dunlop, DE, USA
Dear Samantha: Russia has proposed a total of 16 stadiums in thirteen cities [four of the stadiums are in Moscow]. Most likely, there will be a downselect to 10-12 stadiums, which means that places like Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar, and Samara could miss out. The longest distance between host cities is the 3,100 km between Kaliningrad and Yekaterinburg, but most cities are at least a few hundred kilometres apart. There are rail lines amongst all the venues, but the distances mean that the best way to travel amongst cities will likely be by air.
Dear Edvard: I’ve heard people talking in the last few days about how Russia and Qatar have good bids with modern stadiums and all, but weren’t they actually worse than the other bids? For instance, England is full of suitable football stadiums, and the USA has plenty of NFL stadiums that could – and have – hosted World Cup matches. So isn’t it time for FIFA to admit that they’re not looking for good infrastructure?
– Daniel Muskoberg
Southport, England, UK
Dear Daniel: I believe they already have. Sepp Blatter said that he is “satisfied” with the outcomes of the votes, and that he believes that they are evidence that the sport is moving in the right direction.
Dear Edvard: Will Qatar be the smallest country ever to host the World Cup?
– Kenneth Baker
Seattle, WA, USA
Dear Kenneth: Yes. Qatar has a population of about 1,700,000 and a total land area of 11,437 km². Uruguay, host of the first Men’s World Cup in 1930, has a population of about 3,500,000 and a total land area of 176,215 km². However, Uruguay’s population at the time was also about 1,700,000.
Dear Edvard: There has been much discussion about reforming FIFA’s voting procedure. Why don’t they at least make the voting records public, so that the voters can explain how they made their decisions instead of having commentators speculate about who offered them what?
– Hector Inazco
Fort Worth, TX, USA
Dear Hector: Because they’re dumb.
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