The English press has branded FIFA’s choice to host the 2018 World Cup in Russia a “disgrace”, a “shambles” or other such terms. From these comments it is easy to draw the conclusion that the English press is unhappy with the FIFA’s strange if not adventurous decision. England exited prematurely and disappointingly having amassed a mere two votes out of 22. Even though Sepp Blatter stated after the vote that England had the best technical bid, it did not manage to get past round one. Major names such as Prince William, David Cameron and of course, David Beckham campaigned relentlessly for this prestigious event to be held in “the home of football”
In many ways England was the perfect location for this amazing football event. Sepp Blatter had made it clear he wanted the tournament held in Europe and England have many things put in place already. Impressive stadia, one of the biggest fan bases in the world, optimum transportation facilities and a favourable climate contrary to the one where the players will have to endure in Qatar in 2022. Stadiums such as Wembley, Old Trafford, the Emirates and more would be put to good use during the month of competition. Also comes a huge and loyal fan base which will guarantee full stadiums. England is said to be the home of football and carries an impressive history in the sport. Therefore, it would have been a fantastic choice for a European country.
Many allegations against this campaign will have undoubtedly hurt a successful bid. The Panorama scandal and the accusations of buying and re-selling tickets for the South Africa World Cup are some reasons that could have hurt the bid. However, England had a strong campaign and it is surprising that they went out at such an early stage.
To come to the Russian side of this vote. Russia has never hosted the WC before and only recently opened its doors to other sporting events, the one in question being the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi. Ironically, Sochi is one of the places in Russia with the least snow. To go back to the football, Russia were supported by icon Vladimir Putin and a huge budget that could have influenced the decision of certain voters. A huge budget could be associated with big plans, and in this case, huge renovations hopefully.
Russia 2018 World Cup
Having the World Cup in Russia could be more beneficial than certain neutral or sceptical observers may think. Russia has the money and the political support to hold this event. They have a substantial amount of time, about 7 1/2 years to remake an entire infrastructure. Stadiums must be built and hotels and transportation made available to the fans. The country is still under-developed with high speed railways absent for most of the country. The World Cup will generate huge revenue which must be attributed to the Russian population. Many people are undernourished if not famished and Russia lack the resources to feed them. Crime is also a huge factor to consider, the crime rate is huge and corruption and poverty are contributors to this. There is a huge margin between the rich and the poor but the World Cup can provide a solution. By needing, stadiums, hotels, railways, airports and so on the Russian government, working with the Russian Football Federation can pull the country out of poverty by creating countless jobs for the unemployed population. Crime can effectively be cut down then as the income of the population soar.
Perhaps that observers should be sceptical about this choice though. Russia is obviously a risky choice when it comes to matters such as corruption and crime. These are prickly issues to take up with the Russian government for sure. With England going out with only two votes and Russia having a history of corruption some people will be quick to say that certain official received a bribe in order to make it a certainty that Russia would get the vote. The English newspapers have gone a long way, with little proof and have been named “bad losers” by many FIFA officials, guilty ones, we don’t know yet. There is also the question that Sepp Blatter stated that he had wanted the tournament to be hosted in England and rumour has it that Sepp Blatter always gets what he wants. As displayed, this was not the case so the question of cheating and corruption is raised again.
If the vote really was rigged then the press have every right to complain as they should. Until proof of the contrary I think that Russia should be awarded every chance possible to make this a successful World Cup, South Africa was great, why not Russia? If they use the resources and attention they will duly receive there is no reason to believe they will not do a good job. This is a fantastic opportunity for Russia and if used wisely and to its full extent; could bring the country out of social and economic turmoil.