While 2018 and 2022 may be eight and 12 years away, respectively, they were very much on the mind of 11 countries Thursday morning. After days of waiting and watching, FIFA announced that Russia will host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar will host the 2022 competition.
The International Federation of Association Football considered bids from seven individual nations and two joint bids. Despite calls to postpone the vote due to continued corruption allegations, England, who hosted and consequently won once before in 1966, was expected to be a front-runner for 2018, with some competition from Russia.
The 2022 bid was expected to come down to a decision between the United States and Qatar. The fact that a World Cup has never been staged in the Middle East was considered to be in the Arab nation’s favor, though concerns over summer temperatures that can reach over 105 degrees are being considered as a potential health risk, despite the nation’s promise of air-conditioned stadiums.
Russia promoted the history-making element of hosting the games in its presentation, since World Cup had never before been played in Eastern Europe, said Miriam Elder, GlobalPost’s Moscow correspondent. Following on the South Africa games earlier this year — the first time an African nation hosted World Cup — Russia during its bid “played up that it would be a historic decision and something that would bring Russia more into global harmony and do a lot for children,” she said.
Russia also will host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. “When they won the Olympics, the celebrations lasted for days. This one will be equally important.” But because it’s currently -4 degrees Fahrenheit in Moscow, Elder predicted that “most of the celebrations will probably be in bars.”
The Washington Post’s Steven Goff describes the FIFA balloting process.
You can also watch FIFA’s official announcement of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts in full below:
Larisa Epatko and Crispin Lopez contributed to this report.
Video Editing by Justin Scuiletti and Crispin Lopez.