AMSTERDAM – As one might imagine, media reaction around the globe to FIFA's World Cup 2018 and 2002 picks was rather pointed, especially in countries still licking wounds over a losing bid. The winning countries, however, spoke of the future more than the now.
Dan Silkstone, Sydney Morning Herald: "We shouldn't be embarrassed by Cup defeat, but others should. … How the hell did they do it? How did tiny Qatar, a virtual city-state of 1.69 million people, nearly half of them migrant workers from Pakistan, Vietnam and Cambodia, defeat an island continent, the globe's only superpower and two Asian giants? It looked for all the world like the biggest of stitch-ups."
Marc Wilmots, RTBF: "Russia is a political choice and Qatar is an economic choice. You can say that to some extent the sport has been the loser with the decision for these two World Cups. Now everyone knew from the start that there would be more people disappointed than winners. We are in the first category, but from a sporting point of view, you have to know how to accept this with grace."
Henry Winter, The Telegraph: "Yet the real scandal in FIFA-ville was the decision to award the 2022 tournament to Qatar, a soulless, featureless, air-conditioned, cramped place with so little connection to football it required hired hands like Pep Guardiola. It was as if FIFA was saying, 'To hell with the fans.' Qatar 2022 will be a joyless experience for supporters."
Duncan White, The Telegraph: "How would you like a World Cup held in one city? How about if we make that city so hot it constitutes a health risk, say [122 degrees F]? Right, what if we air-condition everything, heck, have the whole competition indoors? Can we make sure it’s an uncomfortable place for women, gays and Jews too please? No, problem, FIFA have delivered. Welcome to Qatar 2022. … In reality, FIFA has long put money ahead of football. Qatar 2022 marks the moment they stopped pretending otherwise."
The Independent: "As if English football didn't suffer enough yesterday, Sepp Blatter once again claimed that football was invented in China. In one moment he was labelling England the 'motherland,' in the next he was continuing FIFA's bizarre campaign to rewrite history and place the birth of the game in the sport's greatest untapped market. ... According to football historians outside FIFA House, the game starts with Ebenezer Cobb Morley writing the rules of Association Football in 1863, whatever Blatter may try to claim."
The Daily Mail: "The World Cup is a competition that is, essentially, forged in corruption, which is why it goes to countries that are essentially corrupt. Countries that will over-ride their tax system, their money-laundering laws and, in the case of South Africa, even ride roughshod over their constitution. It is almost amusing that the lickspittle leader of England’s bid, Andy Anson, now rails at the duplicity of FIFA executive committee members, having spent the last year selling reality down the river by calling any criticism of football’s governing body unpatriotic."
Bild: "Qatarstrophe. This is how the word is spelled 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 Zürich."
Algemeen Dagblad: "With Russia and Qatar, FIFA has chosen its guarantees in gold and oil. The Netherlands and Belgium were under the impression that FIFA would be sensitive to the ecological nature of their bid. With Qatar, FIFA has chosen an attack on the environment, for a World Cup in air-conditioned stadiums consuming enormous amounts of energy."
Anil John, The Gulf-Times: "A nation’s prayers have been answered. A region’s demand has been met. Qatar and the Middle East have made history and, as a result, the beautiful game has just got more beautiful.
"Many thought Qatar was trying to punch above its weight. Now that it has succeeded where great sporting nations such as the US, Australia, Japan and Korea have failed, there would be all sorts of reactions. There would be praise, no doubt, but there would be also slander and innuendo in the form of done deals and dirty money talking.
"The World Cup is an epochal event that ushers in change and alters the course of history. This was proven when the entire continent of Africa basked in the limelight of the tournament hosted in South Africa this year. The first World Cup in the Middle East will have a similar effect and could act as a salve on the scars left by violent conflicts and turmoil. It would give the region a new face, a new identity."
Russia Today: "After being favorites with the bookmakers to win the right to hold the world cup for months, Russia came into the day of the vote trailing a rejuvenated England bid.
"However, with the advantage of going last, and a bid focusing on leaving not just a footballing, but a social legacy, Russia produced a slick final presentation, with the likes of Andrey Arshavin and multiple pole-vault word-record-holder Elena Isinbaeva with both producing moving speeches in English.
"But now is when the hard work starts in earnest for the Russians. They will have to spend billions of dollars over the next eight years, getting the country up to scratch to host one of the world’s biggest events.
"Around $6 billion has been allocated to get the country’s stadiums up to scratch, but much more money will have to ploughed in to get the country’s transport system ready to handle the hundreds of thousands of fans who will travel to Russia"
Roberto Palomar, Marca:"If the world chose Russia over Spain and Portugal, then maybe we should all emigrate to another planet. If they would rather play in new stadiums that look like spaceships than in the Bernabéu or the Camp Nou, then we have all gone mad. FIFA has committed a mistake, a big, big mistake."
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