2018 & 2022 World Cups


Written in 2009 by Umberto Plaja and Steffi Decker.

Edited and Updated in 2013 by Ian Bruckner, Vinay Kumar, Colby Shanafelt, Tuck Stapor, and Jordan Pearson

NOTE: This page was written in 2009, before the 2018 and 2022 World Cup decisions were made. It expresses the analysis and opinions of the authors at that time. For information regarding the 2018 World Cup in Russia or the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, please click the links here, or use the subpage navigation links at the bottom of the page.



>>The Bids>>The Conversation>> The Decision

Perhaps it is best to begin with a bit of history. Historically, football has been one of the most convenient sports for serving political aims due to its widespread global popularity.[1] The choosing of a host city for the World Cup, the pinnacle in footballing achievement and the largest and richest football tournament in the world, is quite an ordeal.[2] The selection procedure strongly reflects the political nature of the enterprise. Hosting a FIFA World Cup tournament can be a great honor and a bountiful opportunity for any country.  For developed nations like France or Germany, hosting the World Cup can be a celebration of the world’s favorite game as well as a profitable commercial spectacle.  For developed, but less enthusiastic football nation like the United States or Japan, hosting the World Cup can propel the game into a reluctant market. And for developing nations, hosting a mega-sporting event can be a tremendous risk, but can yield big rewards in terms of domestic economic development (as is hoped to be the case in South Africa) and international prestige (as was arguably the case with China and the 2008 Olympics).  And while hosting a World Cup might be a great honor for any nation, selecting that host country can be a great headache for the FIFA executive committee.  The process for host country selection is a complicated manner that blends politics, economics, culture, identity and luck and is a source of contentious debate and endless controversy.


Now onto the selection process. FIFA administers set strict guidelines for each bid nation; candidates must be capable of providing around 12 stadiums each holding at least 40,000 fans and one with an 80,000 person capacity.[3] More specifically in relation to the 2018, 2022 World Cups, no South American country can apply for either tournament because Brazil is hosting the 2014 edition and African countries can bid only for the 2022 event because South Africa is hosting in 2010. In December 2010, FIFA’s 24 person executive committee will, for the first time, chose the next two hosts for the World Cup. As of now, FIFA has received bids from England, Russia, the US, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/the Netherlands. On February 3, 2009 the New York Times reported that, “It is widely believed that a European country, possibly England, which last hosted the tournament in 1966, has the inside track for 2018″[4]


On these pages, you will find an outline of each of the bids for the 2018, 2022 World Cups (The Bids), a discursive back and forth on the context and strength of the bids (The Conversation) and our prediction for what FIFA will decide (The Decision).

Now that the FIFA executive committee has made its decision, we have updated this section to add two new pages, one for the 2018 Russia World Cup and one for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

A word on images: Each image or graphic which contains an element that was not created completely by us, is set up to link to the page in which it was taken from. In the case of the bids, the graphic links to the bid website if they have one.

>>The Bids>>The Conversation>> The Decision^Back to Top

How to cite this article: “The World Cup in 2018 & 2022,” Written by Steffi Decker and Umberto Plaja(2009), Edited and Updated by Ian Bruckner, Vinay Kumar, Jordan Pearson, Colby Shanafelt, and Tuck Stapor (2013), Soccer Politics Pages, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp (accessed on (date)) 

[1] Butler Oliver “Japan, South Korea and the co-hosted World Cup” in Japan, Korea and the 2002 World Cup ed. John Horne and Wolfram Manzenreiter, (London: Routledge 2002), 43.

[2] Alegi, Peter, “A Nation To Be Reckoned With: The Politics of World Cup Stadium Construction in Cape Town and Durban, South Africa” in African Studies 2008, Vol. 67 Issue 3, p. 397-422, 298. Butler 2002, 43.

[3] “Indonesia joins race to host 2018, 2022 World Cup, from The New York Times (Jan 28, 2009): http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/sports/28iht-soccup28.19753067.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Indonesia%20joins%20race&st=cse

[4] Bell, Jack, “U.S. Makes Official Bid to Host World Cup in 2018 or 2022,” from The New York Times (Feb. 3, 2009): http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/03/sports/soccer/03goal.html?scp=1&sq=us%20bid%202018&st=cse

This page has the following sub pages.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “2018 & 2022 World Cups”

  1.   Ian Bruckneron 06 Oct 2013 at 5:56 pm 1

    I would like to write more on this page. I think the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be especially interesting because the conflict over the host’s summer heat has been a great case study in the politics of soccer. Ranging from to intercontinental cultural differences to the relationship dynamics between clubs, national associations, continental associations, FIFA et cetera, the debate over the 2022 World Cup has been fascinating.

  2.   Jordan Pearsonon 07 Oct 2013 at 1:43 pm 2

    I would like to edit this page. I think that a lot of the material on the page was time specific and that it would benefit from articles specifically detailing how the chosen countries are preparing for the World Cup. I agree with Ian, in that I think the 2022 World Cup in Qatar would be an excellent topic because of the conflict over changing the season. I would also be interested in researching more on what Russia is doing to prepare for the 2018 World Cup.

  3.   Vinay Kumaron 07 Oct 2013 at 4:01 pm 3

    I would like to edit this page. As mentioned above, Qatar presents a really interesting situation that will be exciting to cover (personally, I would be interested in analyzing the labor conditions of the workers in more depth). I think it will also be very interesting to compare/contrast the BRIC countries’ (Brazil and Russia’s) preparation strategies and challenges that they have faced.

  4.   Colby Shanafelton 07 Oct 2013 at 7:13 pm 4

    I would like to edit this page. As one who is interested in traveling to these upcoming World Cups, I have been monitoring the progress of the development and complications both Russia and Qatar are facing. While most of the focus has been on the problems with Qatar (for example, they are on pace to leave over 4,000 migrant workers dead before the WC actually begins), I would like to delve into Russia’s preparations in greater detail.

  5.   Tuck Staporon 07 Oct 2013 at 7:40 pm 5

    I would like to edit this page and expand on this topic. Both of these countries present interesting problems for FIFA to handle in the upcoming years before each country hosts their own World Cup. Most people are familiar with the conflicts that are arising in Qatar, but few fully understand the problems that occurring in Russia that could affect both the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup. I would like enhance the information on both countries’ plans for hosting the World Cup in order to keep soccer fans updated on potential problems/solutions.

  6. […] [vi]Umberto Plaja y Steffi Decker, «Contextualizing the 2018 & 2022 bids for the World Cup», Soccer Politics/The Politics of Football, disponible en http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/research-projects/world-cup-site-selection-process/,2009. […]

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