RUSSIA and Qatar celebrated last night after their vows to take the World Cup into uncharted territory earned them the right to stage the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. Qatar, with a population of less than two million, were the shock winners, but Russia also prevailed having been almost written off just hours earlier.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s absence had been seen as a blow to their bid, but he jetted into Zurich to join the party after learning of his country’s success. “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,” said Putin.
“The decision corresponds with Fifa’s philosophy for developing football, especially in those regions of the world where that development is needed.”
Qatar succeeded despite Fifa admitting concerns in their pre-vote report, and have pledged to build nine new stadiums with climate control to combat extreme temperatures of up to 50 degrees centigrade.
“We have worked very hard over past two years to get to this point,” said Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. “Today we celebrate, but tomorrow, the work begins.”
Barack Obama, President of Qatar’s rival bidders the United States, called the result “the wrong decision”.