Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tweet Beat - World Cup 2018 and World Cup 2022 Style

For an up to the minute, not completely Cheesehead sports related installment of "Tweet Beat" I decided to look at FIFA's announcement of the host countries for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The countries in the running for the 2018 World Cup were: Belgium/Netherlands (joint bid), England, Portugal/Spain (joint bid), and Russia. The countries in the running for the 2022 World Cup were: Australia, Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar, and the United States. The odds on favorites throughout the process were England for the 2018 World Cup and the United States for the 2022 World Cup.

Before we get to the winners, let's delve into the selection process. The selection process came under scrutiny even before the vote was revealed because it was done by secret ballot, despite the fact that 2 of the 24 members of the FIFA executive committee were not allowed to vote because of allegations of taking bribes in exchange for their vote. Furthermore, since the committee was voting on two world cups, there were rampant accusations of vote trading. To win, a country needed an absolute majority. If an absolute majority was not reached, the lowest bidder was eliminated.

As I am sure most you know by now, Russia will host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup. We know enough about Russia, but I am sure most readers have not even heard of Qatar much less find it on the map or even know how to properly pronounce it. My only real connection to Qatar before today was occasionally playing as "that other random country" in FIFA International Soccer on Sega Genesis against my buddy Uncle Patty.

Just to compare Qatar to some things in the United States, it has a total population smaller than Houston, Texas and the entire country is smaller than the size of the state of Connecticut. Finally, Qatar will have to build all new soccer stadiums from scratch to combat the 130-degree heat expected during the 2022 World Cup.

Twitter blew up after the "announcement" even though a number of media outlets reported Russia and Qatar as winners 5 minutes before the actual announcement. Check out some of the tweets that came in from sports journalists and other pundits around the world:

@GrantWahl: "Choosing Qatar and Russia is the biggest indictment possible that FIFA is not a clean organization. Petrodollars talk."

@JasonLaCanfora: "Way to go Sunil! You lost to Qatar. What a joke. Can't land a top coach. Blow it in 2018 and 2022. Please step down for good of your country."

@sportsguy33: "And... all the rumors about insane bribes being thrown around to get the 2022 World Cup have been proven correct! Wow."

@bruce_arthur: "If you're outraged about nations as repressive as Russia and Qatar being awarded the World Cup, I'd like to have a word about Beijing."

@sportsguy33: "Qatar needs to thank its special consultant for the 2022 WC bid: Cam Newton's father."

@the_real_nash: "No beer in Qatar? No Canadians going! The bribe must have been large to outbid Budweiser's sponsorship."

@sportsguy33: "Any time you can hold a World Cup in a hot Middle East country that's smaller than Connecticut + has no soccer tradition, you have to do it."

@GrantWahl: "FYI, I'm not upset that USA lost. If Australia, Korea or Japan had won bid, FIFA would look cleaner and less influenced by oil money."

@FO_ASchatz: "Soccer people, out of curiosity, what Middle East country has the best soccer tradition? Egypt or Algeria, maybe?"

@stefanfatsis: "2010 Press Freedom Index rankings: Qatar 121st (out of 178), Russia 140th (just ahead of Malaysia!)"

@AroundTheHorn: "This is what Qatar has given the soccer world video."

@GrantWahl: "USA's Gulati: It was US vs Qatar in final round of vote."

@SI_PeterKing: "RT @RunnerLuis: Thoughts on US losing Cup bid to Qatar?... Amazing. Building 10 AC stadia in country size of Conn.? And if oil economy tanks?"

@GrantWahl: "England=Chicago Olympic humiliation. RT @pkelso 1st round: England 2 votes, Netherlands/Belgium 4, Spain/Portugal 7 & Russia 9."

@milfordio: "Early odds for 2030 World Cup: North Korea 7/1, Somalia 6/1, North Pole 11/1, The Moon 25/1 England 10,000/1"

@GrantWahl: "US was never close today. Qatar got 11 votes in 1st round (1 shy of win), US just 3. Australia was first bid eliminated."

@GrantWahl: "Qatar won final round of World Cup '22 voting 14-8 over the United States."

@GrantWahl: "Official list of round-by-round World Cup vote totals from FIFA: click here. Interesting to see how votes moved."

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