World Cup 2018

The World Cup 2018 will be the 21st World Cup and it is scheduled to take place in Russia. It is the first time that Russia or any other Eastern European country hosts the tournament and it is also the first time the World Cup takes place on two continents. Russia also becomes the largest country hosting the World Cup.

The bidding procedures started in January 2009 for both World Cup 2018 and World Cup 2022. Countries could register until February 2009 and the actual decisional procedures started in March the same year. Eleven countries were initially interested in hosting World Cup 2018, but only nine of them remained eligible because Mexico withdrawn and Indonesia was rejected by FIFA (lack of support from the Indonesian government). During the bidding process, all non-European countries (United States, Qatar, Japan, South Korea and Australia) decided to only compete for hosting the World Cup 2022. FIFA rules state that countries in confederations which hosted the two previous World Cups are not eligible anymore, so this means that all European countries are excluded from hosting the World Cup 2022.

When the decisional process started there were four bids for the World Cup 2018 to be considered: the joint bids of Belgium-Netherlands and Portugal-Spain and the bids of England and Russia.  In July 2010 FIFA started the inspections of the applicants. These ended in September 2010 and in December 2010 the actual voting procedures took place and hosts for World Cup 2018 and 2022 were nominated. There are twenty-four members in the FIFA Executive Committee and each one has a single vote. They use a multiple round exhaustive ballot system for voting. This means that the country which receives the fewest votes is eliminated until one country obtains the majority of the votes. The FIFA president has the deciding vote in case of tied votes. In December 2010 only twenty-two members of the FIFA Executive Committee had the right to vote because two of them were suspended as a result of accusations claiming they were taking money for their votes.

Russia was nominated as host of World Cup 2018 in the second round of voting when it obtained 12 votes. England was eliminated in the first round. The joint bids of Portugal-Spain and Belgium-Netherlands obtained 7, respectively 2 votes in the second round.

Russia stated its intention to bid at the beginning of 2009. The bid was fully supported by Vladimir Putin, the former president of the country and the current Prime Minister. The president of the Russian Football Union declared that Russia would be able to spend approximately €8 billion on organizing the World Cup 2018.  Initially Russia proposed 13 cities with 16 stadiums for hosting the event. The cities were Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Samara, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Saransk, Yaroslavl and Sochi.  13 of the 16 stadiums need to be built while three of them are only going to be renovated. When the bid was accepted, there was no stadium with a capacity higher than 80.000 in Russia. However, officials have announced that they would expand the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow in order to meet the FIFA requirements.

In October 2011 Russia announced that the number of stadiums for World Cup 2018 Russia was reduced to only 14. A year later the number of cities was also reduced to eleven and two more stadiums were excluded. Yaroslavl and Krasnodar are not going to host any games.

FIFA hasn’t yet announced the start of the qualifications for World Cup 2018 Russia. Only one thing is for sure: Russia is qualified because it is the host country. All 208 FIFA members are allowed to enter qualifications, including Myanmar which was initially excluded.

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