Whenever you get 22 people in a room to vote on anything in a secret ballot, you really never know what the outcome will be.
Add to this equation the fact that of the group of 22, each person voting also has an agenda and an ego. On top of that, their vote can remain secret forever if they choose, so there really are no consequences for their decision.
With that said, as we congratulate Russia and Qatar as the winners of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively, it is pretty clear by all accounts that the best overall bid came from the United States.
No one can match this country’s stadiums, infrastructure, ability to host big events, and its revenue streams. If FIFA was looking for a guaranteed money-maker, then the USA would be the obvious choice in 2022.
Our bid was outstanding, leaving no stone unturned. It was a long, drawn out process that was well funded, guided by some of our best soccer minds, and loaded with big names like former President Bill Clinton, world renowned actor Morgan Freeman, and our top American player in Landon Donovan.
I’m not sure our group could have done anything different. In the end, the odds were stacked against them.
Over a year ago I felt that the USA was a lock to win the 2022 bid.
Dropping out of 2018 contention was a good move for many reasons, including politically. I felt that withdrawing from 2018 was the extra jolt that clearly put them over the top.
However, as the days got closer to this announcement, I was very worried about our bid. We were all reading about collusion, attempts at bribery, and we even saw two people lose their votes because of impropriety.
At the end of the day, tiny, but wealthy Qatar won the right to host the World Cup in 2022. They have plenty of work ahead of them, but they do have time.
As we look at the aftermath of this, I think the one thing that needs to change is the process of how we select World Cup nations. I would have said the same if the USA had been successful in their bid.
I close with these questions:
Why does there have to be a secret ballot?
Why vote on two World Cups at the same time, when you double the odds of collusion doing it this way?
Why do we need to vote so far ahead of a World Cup? So much can change in any country over a 12-year period.
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