OK, I can't stand all the knee jerk, sour grapes, ill-informed, let's pull out of FIFA bashing going on here and in some quarters. Yes, we are all disappointed because we lost. Yes, there are some potential issues in Qatar hosting, or Russia. But the USA (and to a lesser extend England) are being incredibly hypocritical. And, by the way, the best bids won. I'll say it again, FIFA made the right choice. Football wise, for the growth and good of the game, Russia and Qatar were the best bids. And the most just result in terms of regional fairness. First off, the knee-jerks need to be called out on their sour grapes, hypocrisy, and lack of any type of memory. Second, and I hate to break it to you, Qatar had the best bid, and the best opportunity for something fantastic to happen (and, to a lesser extent, so did Russia). First off, we would be calling to pull out of FIFA if we'd won? I doubt it. This is all sour grapes. And the more we whine, the least likely we are to host in the future. While some on here and in the press have gone overboard, US Soccer had it right. Don't act like a jilted lover, act with some class and try again. Second, about the $$$. It is kind of hard to cry foul about money being a deciding factor when our whole pitch was based on how much money we could make for FIFA, and what the Clinton Global Initiative could do. We had the most attendance (hence we'll make you the most money). That was our main pitch. What is our complaint, they out-bribed us? Hardly the moral high ground. And how do you think we got the thing the last time? Which brings me to the last time. Have all the people bemoaning Qatar's lack of soccer pedigree have any knowledge of the history of FIFA and the World Cup at all? If those principles were applied to 1994, we'd never have gotten to host the thing. In the late 1980's when the '94 Cup was awarded, the USA didn't have a top flight league, the NASL had folded w/in the five years, and we hadn't qualified for a WC since 1950. Some pedigree. Where was all your complaining about a nation with a poor team hosting then? Hypocrites or dumbasses, I can't decide. And, in case you hadn't noticed, but Korea, Japan, and South Africa aren't exactly powerhouses either, and they got the WC, and things turned out well in the WC, and soccer wise, in the USA, Korea/Japan, and apparently, South Africa as well. The game grew. They all turned out to be pretty good decisions, though I'm sure more established footballing nations were disappointed at the time. The whole point of FIFA (and CONCACAF) and all governing bodies, is to grow the game. USA 1994 grew the game. Since the announcement, the USA now has a growing professional league (1996), has won 2 Women's World Cups, won Olympic Gold 2-3 times (women's), and soccer is growing in popularity in Canada as well. And we made FIFA a pile of money and hosted the most well-attended WC ever. In 2002 FIFA decided to award Japan/Korea as co-hosts. Neither were real football powers, but they are growing now. Both advanced last time. Previous to 2002, had ANY Asian team advanced? Certainly no far eastern team (I think the Saudi's had advanced a couple times). Now there is an influx far-eastern players in the top leagues, and football in on the rise in the far-east. And the WC was well attended and FIFA made a pile of money. Having done so much to grow the sport in North America and the Far East, FIFA took it's global development game to Africa for the first time in 2010. Was it perfect? No. Was it successful. You betcha. While Africa doesn't have the $$ at their disposal that USA, Canada, Korea, and Japan do, I bet there will be a lasting impact and footprint for the game in Africa as well. In short, previously to yesterday, half of the WC's awarded since 1990 had been to "emerging" soccer nations (USA '94, Korea/Japan '02, South Africa 2010). Half had been awarded to traditional soccer powers (France '98, Germany '06, Brazil 2014). With the bonus of some redevelopment in Brazil. Point being, FIFA has been on a kick of spreading the game, and soccer infrastructure, past Europe and South America (& Mexico), for some time now. As has UEFA. Check out the new stadiums in Portugal (Euro's: Portugal 2004). UEFA giving the to Eastern Europe in 2012 Poland/Ukraine). And they've done so successfully. Which brings me, at last, to Qatar's (and Russia's) bids. The best bids won. The ones with most upside. The ones that best carry out FIFA's mission and vision to spread the game. Russia first. England, Spain/Portugal, and Netherlands/Belgium are all soccer mad already. What would bringing the WC there get FIFA? What would the gain be? Yes, it would be fantastic, and all would doubtless do a good job. But when is the last time someone did a bad job? Columbia 1986? It's been a while, and Mexico stepped in. There have been relatively few nations to host twice: Italy, France, and Brazil are the list. Mexico has also done so, but the second time they stepped in. Spain and England will be in the running in the future (unless England continues to throw a tantrum). And so will Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium. All of the traditional powers will continue to be in the running, but it shouldn't be an exclusive club. FIFA want MORE traditional powers. MORE soccer mad nations. And ones outside of Western Europe and Latin America. Russia is the biggest European nation. Geographically and by population. There is certainly some soccer history there. The USSR won 1 Euro Championship and has been in 3 other finals (that is 4 more finals than say, England). They made a deep run in the last Euros. Russia has hosted Olympic games and has a rich culture. But they aren't soccer made like England or Spain. What would it mean for football if they were? Europe's biggest economy now soccer mad? Big ups. Huge. And the appeal and ups aren't just restricted to Russia, but to all of Eastern Europe. This isn't just about growth, but rekindling. And fundamental fairness. In terms of fairness. Eastern Europe has never hosted a World Cup, nor a Euro championship, despite having some great teams over the years. Hungary and Czechoslovakia have both made the finals twice, Yugoslavia, Poland, and Austria have all made the semis, as have the USSR, Bulgaria and Turkey. Romania has made some deep runs to (USA 1994 comes to mind). In terms of WCs, Europe has hosted ten: Italia '34, France '38, Swtizerland '54, Sweden '58, England '66, W. Germany '74, Spain '82, Italia '90, France '98, Germany '06. They only time it's been out of Western Europe have been Switzerland (super rich country, FIFA HQ) and Sweden. Point being, Western Europe has dominated, and contains the only 3 countries who have been selected to host the WC more than once (Italy, France, Germany). Though Brazil is set to join the club in 2014, and Mexico did in 1986 when it stepped in for Colombia. The Euros follow a similar pattern: France '60, Spain '64, Italy '68, Belgium '72, Yugoslavia '76, Italy '80, France '84, West Germany '88, Sweden '92, England '96, Belgium/Netherlands '00, Portugal '04, Switzerland/Austria '08. Again, some familiar faces. Belgium and the Dutch get to join in, as does Portugal. France and Italy have again hosted twice (as has Belgium). Again, Sweden and Switzerland are the exceptions to the Western Euro domination, but this time joined by Yugoslavia in '76, and Austria in '08 with the Swiss. Again, I'd argue the only real exception is Yugoslavia. UEFA broke the pattern a bit in '08 (Austria, still pretty wealthy, but central to be sure), and in 2012 with Poland/Ukraine. Some may quibble with my geography a bit, but the fact remains there is a rich soccer history in Eastern/Central Europe, and they rarely get to play host to big time soccer events. I count only 3, and the Swiss were a part of two of them (WC 1954, Euro 2008 with Austria). Central, and particularly Easter Europe are due their turn. They have the population, size and economic clout to deserve it. Poland/Ukraine have the next Euro's. FIFA is aiming to energize the sport in whole region. Russia, Ukraine, and Poland are the largest nations in Europe. FIFA and UEFA made a solid choice. Plus, they, and the whole region, have solid football tradition as well. Hopefully, this will revive it. Russia makes a TON of sense. Qatar, doesn't have tradition, but there a big ups there as well. And the bid follows the pattern of wanting to spread the game, and hits on fairness, and has a huge upside. Fairness and mission, again. FIFA has been trying to expand the game to new areas, and grow it beyond the football Meccas of Western Europe and Latin America (SA + Mex) since 1990. The best players, best leagues, and the most money hails from Western Europe + Latin America. Every WC champion hails from those two regions as does every Club World Champion. Prior to USA 1994, every World Cup had been hosted in those regions except Switzerland in 1954 (and that is a quibble), and nearly every Euro Championship had been in the same zones before 2008 (Yugo 1976). Point being, FIFA have been wanting to spread the wealth. And they have been doing so successfully. It began in USA 1994, more in Korea/Japan 2002, and South Africa in 2010. North (non-Latin) America, the Far East, and South Africa (and Africa) are all emerging soccer nations, with interest growing. The sport growing. Even Australia fits in this mold. Where is the sport sagging the most? The Middle East. The Saudi's are fading, Asia is being dominated by the Far Eastern teams (Korea/Japan) and Australia. Iran, Saudi Arabai, et all need a boost, not to mention Bahrain, UAE, etc. The middle east is the only geographic region beside Australia not to host yet. Among the 2022 bidders, there were no traditional powers to choose from. Japan, Korea, USA, and Australia are all middling soccer powers. They have strong economies and infrastructure. USA, and Korea/Japan have hosted a WC fairly recently, and Australia the Olympics. All have middling soccer leagues (though Aussies are struggling). What would be the big up in any of those nations hosting? And again for any save the Aussies? Why should FIFA choose any of them? As above, our first argument was: we'd make you money? FIFA makes money no matter where it is (TV and sponsorship). Qatar will make them money as well. Our second argument (and Japan's, Korea's, and Australia's) was that we've proven we can do it. Qatar hosted the Asian games in 2006, so they've also proven they can do it. Plus, when is the last time someone failed to pull it off? Last, they had the best bid. They have a zillion dollars and a striking vision. Have you seen the stadium renderings? Stadiums shaped like boats, sea shells, and stadia completely surrounded by video screens! Totally awesome. Makes NFL look shite. What will you do with them when WC is gone? Keep some, build others as modular and give to poor countries. The USA didn't have anything close to that. Even Japan's freaks hologram in every stadium thing was way cooler. All we had was $$ and experience. Problems about temperature (as if it isn't hot in LA, NY, or Texas in the summer)? Qatar offers up climate controlled stadia and fan zones. Awesome. Plus, it is on the beach. Arrive on a water taxi. Think Bahamas + WC (with different outfits). Not as good as Rio, but better than Dallas. Too small? Bahrain is 30 minutes away. They have a zillion dollars and a zillion hotels. Heck, the smallness can even be an asset. Any fan attending will be within reach of every game. Every fan zone. And chance to meet and interact with fans from every other nation all in one city. Every game will be right there, instead of hundreds or thousands of miles a way. Take a cab or a water taxi from the Brazil, Germany, Spain, and Argentina games instead of a plane. Which brings me to the ups. Huge ups. FIFA likes to view football (and sport) as a way to bring people together. To heal the wounds. Qatar knew this and played to it in their presentation. What if Israel qualifies? The USA probably will. Well, maybe we all get to know each other and find out that people are people for the most part, not some dumb caricature on Fox or Iranian TV. Look at what the Koreans marching together in the Olympics in Seoul. FIFA would love that. Yes, there are potential drawbacks, and risks. But there is also a ton of money and motivation behind this thing and wanting it to succeed. And it could be absolutely spectacular. On the field: perfect conditions in modern and/or architectually stunning stadial Off the field: air conditioned fan zones and with all the fans in close proximity to all the games and each other. If you go, you won't miss a thing. Plus it is in a resort town, effectively. With the potential for sport to heal some divisions and bring people together. Growing the game: the region that most needs a soccer boost gets one (central Asia will be next, when China hosts). Fairness: the last region not to host (save Australia) gets one. Sorry for the length, but I wanted to get that all out. FIFA did a good job. Yes, the process may have stunk, and bid riddled with questionable ethics, but the decisions are both good ones. Qatar's bid offers the most upside, so did Russia's. Traditional powers in Europe will always be considered for hosting (England, Spain/Portugal Netherlands/Belgium). France, Italy, and Germany will have to wait a while for #3. So will traditional South American powers: Brazil (2), Argentina/Uruguay (1 each). Beyond that, second tier soccer nations with good infrastructure (USA, Korea, Japan, Australia, Russia), places where there is huge opportunity for growth (Russia, Middle East, China), and football mad nations that need a bit of improvement to infrastructure (Mexico, South America, other Central/Eastern Europe) will be considered. Relax, we'll have a shot, there are only so many candidates, and CONCACAF deserves another turn soon. As it stands now: UEFA: 9/10. 9 Hosted + Russia 2018. France '34, Italy '38, Swiss '54, Sweden '58, England '66, Spain '82, Italy '90, France '98, Germany '06, Russia 2018. "Western" Europe 8, Central 1 (Swiss), Eastern 1 (Russia). CONMEBOL: 5(6). 6 Selected, 4 hosted. Uruguay '30, Brazil '50, Chile '62, Argentina '78, (Colombia '86), Brazil '14. Colombia replaced in '86, Brazil in 2014. CONCACAF: hosted 3, selected 2 Mexico '70, '86 (Colombia), USA '94. (1 Mex, 1 USA). Asia: 2. Korea/Japan '02, Qatar '22. (1 Far East, 1 Middle East). Africa: 1. South Africa 2010. Australia: 0. Would it really have been fair for CONCACAF to be selected for the third time, and hosted for the 4th, while Asia and Africa would have only had 2 between them?