LONDON (Reuters) - Newspaper reaction from around the world to the decision by soccer’s world governing body FIFA to hand the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 edition to Qatar.
“Qatar? Really? Has the FIFA cartel seriously lost all of its soul? Is it only about the dirty oil money? Does it really care about growing the game? Or lining its pockets?” wrote columnist Steve Kelley.
”FIFA, world’s soccer’s governing body, thumbed its nose at the United States’ bid on Thursday and awarded the 2022 World Cup to soccer-poor, oil-rich Qatar.
“FIFA president Sepp Blatter said his organisation wants to spread soccer around the world. But Qatar? All this announcement does is fuel the already-existing suspicions of collusion that have haunted the entire bid process.”
“Bringing the World Cup to new places is the right thing to do,” wrote Pete Grathoff.
”For those of us old enough to remember, there was quite an outcry when the United States was awarded the 1994 World Cup. Critics assailed the thought of soccer’s biggest showcase being in a country without a professional outdoor league.
“But MLS was born out of that decision, and soccer has a firm, if not imposing, grip on the sports landscape here.”
“There is no point saying the United States ”deserved“ the 2022 World Cup merely because it could hold the event next week, as soon as it erased those goofy stripes across perfectly good fields,” wrote George Vecsey.
“What the United States needs to do right now, rather than sulk and mutter about being cheated, is continue developing soccer the way it has in the last generation. Holding the World Cup is not a birthright, not a prize for having a lot of hotels near a lot of stadiums. It’s a big world out there.”
“It was not so much a defeat as an abject humiliation, an embarrassment that reeked of newcomer’s naivety and misplaced trust. But if there was shame to be felt for it then it should probably have been felt by others,” wrote Dan Silkstone.
“The World Cup in 2022 will be hosted by Qatar -- a tiny emirate of few people, little sporting pedigree and a FIFA world ranking of 113. A nation in name but a city-state in practice, one that will challenge in almost every way traditional notions of what a World Cup is and how it is run.”
”FIFA sold the 2022 World Cup to the sheikhs - Qatarstrophe. This is how the word is spelt since yesterday.
“The only explanation for this decision is that FIFA sold the World Cup to the sheiks of the mini-state in the desert. There is no other explanation. It was always clear that money rules in Zurich.”
“The World Cup is a competition that is, essentially, forged in corruption, which is why it goes to countries that are essentially corrupt,” wrote columnist Martin Samuel.
“The FA prostituted England around the world ... and all they received in return was one measly vote.”
“Our efforts were undermined by the BBC’s cynical actions in broadcasting rehashed corruption allegations against FIFA on the eve of the vote,” said a Sun editorial.
“Spain had the technical conditions to win but it lacked weight. Since 1982 they have organised the Olympic Games, the World Cups of football, basketball and swimming. It is an excellent organiser. Perhaps the moment has arrived to take measure of a fever that is starting to wear thin.”
“World Cup goes to Russia and Qatar yet they had the worst bid dossiers.”
“Qatar stole Obama’s ball and now he gets angry while in 2018 the map of the footballing world will suddenly be all Russian.”
“For Portugal and Spain this bid meant much more than football games -- in case of a win it would have been a spiritual boost for two countries that currently have a deficit in terms of international credibility.”
“Regardless of the lamentations that try to minimise the effect of the decision, the truth is that FIFA acted in accord with its identity: a multinational company that looks for diversity and business.”
“They (Russia and Qatar) are bids of geographic expansion, that entail construction of stadiums and infrastructures which would not have happened in England or Portugal/Spain.”
“Nations Struggle With FIFA’s Shock Decision to Hand 2022 World Cup to Qatar.”
“Qatar puts Mid-East football on the map”
”How can such a small country with no sporting tradition organise such an important event?
“On several points, demographic, economic, environmental, sporting and touristic, the choice makes you wonder.”
Compiled by Tom Pilcher, Editing by Jon Bramley; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org