Russia to host World Cup in 2018, Qatar in 2022
Published Thursday, December 2, 2010 10:52PM EST
England's losing bid to host the 2018 World Cup has many in the country worried they may have earned themselves some enemies after scathing British media reports accused high-ranking FIFA members of corruption.
In the past few months, the British media has accused five powerful figures in the international soccer body, known as FIFA, of corruption -- saying they were accepting bribes and trying to make a profit form selling soccer tickets on the black market.
Two members of FIFA's executive committee have been suspended by the body's independent ethics panel following an expose in the Sunday Times newspaper. Nothing has been done regarding the three other members but an in-depth investigation has been promised.
Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti were both excluded from the decision process after undercover journalists filmed the pair allegedly offering to sell their votes.
More allegations followed, implicating the Qatar 2022 and Spain/Portugal 2018 bid teams in an alleged vote-swapping scheme.
Then, in a move dubbed "unpatriotic" by English bid chief Andy Anson, last week the BBC alleged that the presidents of the African, South American and Brazilian soccer associations all took bribes in the 1990s.
Journalist and blogger Ian Harrison told CTV's News Channel that FIFA president Sepp Blatter appeared to take a swipe at Britain before announcing Russia would host the 2018 event.
He suggested "that Britain is not the birthplace of soccer, but in fact China is the birthplace of soccer," Harrison said.
FIFA has promised its own "in-depth investigation" of the vote-selling allegations, but John Doyle, author of The World is a Ball, doesn't think it will ever be "as transparent as it needs to be, simply because it's too powerful."
"There will always be suspicions about how these decisions are made. I think FIFA will make noises about how it will improve things ... but very little will actually happen."
Wahl agreed that fallout from the allegations could be "the legacy of this vote."
"I know that FIFA wants there to be the impression that this is a clean process, but with a lot of people right now there isn't."
With potentially billions of dollars up for grabs, Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl said allegations of collusion, corruption and bribery swirling around the world soccer body are hardly surprising.
"FIFA is not really answerable to any government," Wahl said in an interview from Zurich. "They take pride in not being a governmental institution and being outside of politics."
Back in Russia, fans celebrated waving their flags shouting, "Russia!" Russia!"
This is the first time Eastern Europe will be hosting the event.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he personally felt his country "deserved" the World Cup and lobbied throughout the bid campaign, and even flew to Switzerland to thank voters for the win.
"Russia loves football. Russia knows what football is and in our country we have everything to conduct the 2018 World Cup on a very worthy level," Putin said. "The decision corresponds with FIFA's philosophy for developing football, especially in those regions of the world where that development is needed."
When Qatar was announced the victor for the 2022 World Cup, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani took the stage.
"Thank you for believing in change, thank you for believing in expanding the game, thank you for giving Qatar the chance. You will be proud of us and you will be proud of the Middle East, I promise you this," Al-Thani said.
England, Belgium/Netherlands, Spain/Portugal and Russia were all in the running for 2018, while the five bidders for 2022 were the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar.
Russia will need to begin constructing their infrastructure immediately since the vote was based on computer graphics and blueprints that were given to FIFA executives. Right now, only one of the county's stadiums meet the organization's requirements.
Russia's finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, vowed World Cup spending will be lower than that of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, which is expected to cost $12 billion. The country is currently halfway through building all the facilities for the Olympics from scratch.
Russia has vowed to waive visas and provide free ground transportation for all World Cup ticket holders and officials say the World Cup will include 13 major cities. The country is also promising 16 football-only arenas and say some are already underway or being refurbished.
Brazil is set to host the 2014 World Cup.
With files from The Associated Press