How the bids were won

2010-12-05 16:11

Russia’s and Qatar’s financial muscle played a major role in the two ­countries being awarded the rights to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

This was the view expressed by South African 2010 Fifa World Cup local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan on Friday.

Having just flown in from Zurich, Jordaan told City Press: “Russia and Qatar have sound economies with the cash ­needed to build the stadiums and the required infrastructure to host the World Cup.”

Jordaan, who was part of the Fifa inspection team that ­visited all the countries bidding for the 2018 and 2022 events, said Qatar had been at a ­disadvantage because of the desert and the heat.

“However, when we visited they took us to a match where the temperature outside the stadium was 39 degrees ­(celcius), yet their efficient cooling system brought the temperature ­inside the ­stadium to 18,” he said.

The two countries beat ­powerhouses England and the United States to get the nod from the ­22-member Fifa ­executive ­committee.

England actually suffered worse humiliation than it did during the voting for the 2006 World Cup, which eventually went to Germany.

Then they bowed out with five votes, but this time around they were ­eliminated in the first round ­after getting a mere two votes, which put them at the bottom of the pile.

The nation of the Tsars emerged as winners in the second round when they scored a massive absolute majority of 13 votes, followed by the joint bids of Spain/Portugal with seven and the ­­Netherlands/­Belgium, which also collected a ­measly two.

Voting for the 2022 bid went the whole hog as it was ­decided after four rounds of voting out of which Qatar emerged with 14 votes to the US’s eight in the final round.

The Australians, who had boasted that they were ready to “host the World Cup tomorrow” should South Africa fail for the 2010 version, were eliminated in the first round ­after ­collecting one vote.

As has become the norm, politics seems to have played a major role in the decisions too.

Negative reports that had appeared in the ­British press, claiming ­corruption within Fifa, seemed to have contributed ­to England being denied the ­necessary votes.

On the other hand, Asian Football Confederation ­president Mohammed Bin Hammam’s announcement in August that he will not stand for the Fifa presidency next year could have been a factor in swaying the vote for ­Qatar.

The 61-year-old Qatari’s ­announcement opened the door for Sepp Blatter to run Fifa for another four years.

Soon after Russia won the rights to host the 2018 Fifa World Cup, most conservative estimates were that it would cost the country more than $50?billion (about R350 billion).

This will be four years after the country shells out $30?billion for the 2014 Winter ­Olympics, to be held in Sochi, Krasnodar Krai.

According to the Russian bid book, the tournament will be held in 16 stadiums across 13 cities, ­including Moscow and St ­Petersburg.

The Grand Sport Arena of Luzhniki Stadium, which will host the opening match, ­semifinals and finals, is the ­only one that is ready, while the other stadiums will be ­constructed from the ground up or ­reconstructed beyond ­recognition, with a price tag of about $3.8?billion.

A further $11?billion is ­projected for the development of tourist infrastructure, and so is a sum of $35?billion which is needed to build about 7?711km of new roads and 2?024km of railways.

Besides her economic ­prowess – being the richest country in the ­Muslim world – Qatar also has “green” credentials.

It is moving to solar power which, it said, would be ­highlighted in the build-up to the games
Its ­commitment to having the greenest games in World Cup history definitely ­contributed to its bid success.

England, who had brought in the big guns to lobby Fifa ­delegates in Zurich, in former England captain David ­Beckham, Prime Minister ­David Cameron and Prince William, each spending two days promoting the bid, were left licking their wounds.

The ­Independent reported that Cameron arrived in ­England to bad news after ­leaving Switzerland before the decision was announced.

“It is desperately sad. There hasn’t been a World Cup in England in my lifetime.

“I was hoping we could change that, but not this time,” he said.

Beckham told BBC Radio Five Live: “I think the bid team have done everything possible. We could not have got a better bid.

“It would be great to bring the World Cup to our country because we’ve not had it for so many years, but it’s a process I have enjoyed.”

Prince William expressed his disappointment, saying on Sky Sports News: “We had a very strong bid – sadly it did not work out.

“I am sorry for the fans back home; we did everything we could.”

The final presentations and the announcement were among the biggest media events yet seen in Switzerland, with 70 TV stations reporting live and 1?000 reporters from across the world covering the event.

Russia’s Deputy Prime ­Minister, Igor Shuvalov, said: “You have entrusted us with the Fifa World Cup for 2018 and I can promise that you will never ­regret it. Let us make history together.”

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, said: “You will be proud of us, I promise you.”

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