Friday, December 3, 2010

No World Cup in South Korea in 2022

"The way things are going, we're not even sure they'll still be there," said FIFA.

Ah, just kidding. But FIFA did take a look at South Korea's bid, with its message that a Korea World Cup in 2022 could reduce regional tensions, and they decided it would be easier to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Qatar got the 2022 games, making it the first time the games will be hosted in the Middle East.

From Bloomberg:
Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup, overcoming concerns about high temperatures and lack of infrastructure to become the first Arab country to hold the most-watched sporting event.

Soccer ruling body FIFA announced the decision in Zurich today. The U.S., Australia, Japan and South Korea were the unsuccessful candidates. Russia was chosen to host the 2018 edition. The U.S. estimates that the tournament is worth $5 billion to the hosts.

Qatar, projected by the International Monetary Fund to have the world’s fastest-growing economy this year, plans to more than double the number of hotel rooms, build nine stadiums and refurbish three others and construct a rail and metro network for the tournament.

“It will probably be the fastest-growing economy in the world for a sustained period,” said Akber Khan, a director at Al Rayan Investment in Doha. The World Cup “will significantly accelerate massive infrastructure building in Qatar.”
Well, of course it will. Because a country with 1/30th population of South Korea probably doesn't have all those soccer stadiums in the desert left over from any previous global sporting event. Maybe they'll share with the neighbors, like Korea did with Japan in 2002.

Seriously, though, it will be nice to see the potential for regional cooperation at work in that volatile part of the world.

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