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.
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. 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. 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. 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”
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).
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.
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))
 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.
 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.
 “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
 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