As many other football loving men around the world I was glued to the BBC world services on 2nd of December 2010, hoping that Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA would open the envelope to reveal that the world cup 2018 would be held in England, however it was not to be.
As I sat and reflected on winners, I cannot help but wonder on the significance of FIFA’s choice and its relevance to the emergent new world order, not just within the Football loving community, but the world at large. Sepp Blatter is a powerful figure within the secret hierarchy of the governing body that runs football, and for a while he has been very clear on the legacy that he wants to leave behind, that is to spread the game far and wide. He was single handedly instrumental in the world cup going to Africa in 2010, I guess giving the games to Russia and Qatar may not be as symbolic as the former decision, however, in my view no less significant.
Russia is a vast country of significant population with large reserves of natural resources, it also has an economy that will continue to grow at rapid speed, and hence commercially politically this is a sound choice for FIFA. Economically let’s look at the competition, you cannot help but laugh that Spain and Portugal had submitted a bid. When currently their economy is teetering on the brink, how can a world cup be trusted with these countries, who knows where their economies will be in 2018. England is not exactly flushed with cash at the moment either, and in any case I don’t think there is a “legacy” factor here as the game is very well entrenched in the country, and it does not require further enhancement.
Qatar was indeed a bold decision, a tiny country with little football heritage, unbearable heat, no infrastructure and the list can go on, however, FIFA must be given credit for tapping into the future opportunity. Eleven years is more than enough for Qatar to put right the necessary infrastructure and as other GCC countries have shown in the past, when required, they will WOW the world with a fantastic show. I’m sure the rest of the gulf countries are in awe in Qatar, however, must be excited by their achievement and I expect someone like Dubai to now start to seriously consider an Olympics bid for 2020
Decision by FIFA on 2nd of December 2010 is a reflection of the change in world order, no longer will the west hold sway over the key decision making establishments, the newer cash rich regions will begin to assert more power over the debt ridden powers of the yester years, and we all have to learn and adopt and accept this.
If I had a mystic ball I will predict the 2026 world cup will be in China then the 2030 will be in India, who can bet against this?