As England has failed to win the right to host the World Cup yet again, the introspection, inquiries, and invective has begun. Losing out to Russia in such a debilitating fashion is a massive blow to the ego of the nation.
However we must remember that we are not the only ones in this, Russia, Qatar and other countries also have the right to host the World Cup and before jumping on the bandwagon of anti-Fifa conjecture we must ask ourselves did Fifa really make such a bad decision?
Leaving aside the murkiness that is the Fifa Executive Committee voting process, let’s take an honest look at the winning Russian bid and the possible reasons for Fifa’s decision.
The argument that England hasn’t had the World Cup since 1966 and it’s about time the competition revisits English shores is a non starter. The fact is we’ve already had the tournament, yes other countries have hosted it more than once, but some have not yet had the opportunity.
Russia clearly made that point in their presentation, nearly all Western European countries have had a chance yet the World Cup has never been to Eastern Europe. If England were to have it on the basis that it hasn’t had it for a while then Russia’s case — as is Netherlands/Belgiums— is even stronger.
Russia is not a footballing nation, the market for the game in that country is huge and untapped. Taking the game to Russia is
Given the enthusiasm Fifa has for taking the Cup to new markets, then it’s easy to see why Englands bid was disadvantaged from the onset.
The case for Stadia shouldn’t be taken into account, the simple fact is these things will get built by the time the World Cup comes around, if South Africa can do it do we for a minute think that Russia will have any problems construction the most modern of Stadiums? These stadiums are needed and will be used by the proposed cities. Even if they end up being white elephants, the cost can easily be absorbed by Russia, again if South Africa can do it…
The biggest whinge about the Russian Bid is that it is such a vast land mass, and transportation links are primitive. I can’t remember anyone complaining about Brazil being too big. The farthest distance between Stadiums in Russia (Staliningrad to Yekaterinburg) is 1541 miles as the crow flies, to give you an idea of how far this is it’s the same distance as London to Moscow or 10 times London to Manchester. No doubt this is a huge distance, still it’s not as far as Porto Allegre to Manuas in Brazil to which is 25% farther or 13 times London to Manchester.
We think of Brazil as a place of fun and sun but in reality it is a vast country with transport links that are even worse than Russia’s. We can always depend on the Russians to push through public works and get things done, Fifa is confident that Airports, and or Rail links can be built before 2018. Brazil is still dragging their feet, work has yet to start on the infrastructure needed to host the cup, somehow I doubt the Russians with their deep pockets will be as slow as brazil has been.
The point is despite the talk of Stadiums and technical reports and such, in Fifa’s —Sepp Blatter— eyes the most important consideration is taking the World Cup to new frontiers and on that point England was always going to be the loser.