I’m a big sports fan but I only follow soccer a little, so I need some input on this…
I completely understand if some people are disappointed that the U.S. was not selected to host the 2022 World Cup. There’s no doubt it would have been an amazing experience for soccer fans and even for some people who don’t follow the game closely. And the last time the U.S. hosted a World Cup, attendance records were broken.
But I’m confused by the shock and anger I’m seeing around the internet about the U.S. not being selected. Here’s where I need some help better understanding the situation and the way people are feeling:
The U.S. last hosted the World Cup 16 years ago in 1994. By the time 2022 rolls around, it would have been 28 years since the World Cup took place in America. With those hosting duties now awarded to Qatar, if the U.S. is later selected to host in the 2020s or 2030s, you’re looking at about 30 to 40 years having passed since the even last took place in this country…and that doesn’t seem too bad (it looks pretty great actually) when you consider this…
Only five countries have been selected to host the FIFA World Cup twice since the inaugural event in 1930: France, Italy, Mexico, Brazil and Germany (if you count that West Germany hosted in 1974 and Germany in 2006).
Just one of those countries got their second chance to host the World Cup in less than 30 years—that was Mexico, who hosted in 1970 and again sixteen years later in 1986. France hosted in 1938 and then waited 60 years to host again in 1998. Italy hosted in 1934 and didn’t receive the honor again until 1990, a wait of 56 years. Brazil, who will host the next Cup in 2014, will have waited 64 years since they last hosted in 1950. East Germany hosted in 1974 and then Germany did in 2006, a gap of 32 years.
As far as the game has come in the U.S. in recent years, I think it’s safe to say that soccer is much, much bigger in all these countries than it is in the states. And look at England—a country where soccer is huge and that just got passed over for the 2018 hosting duties. They haven’t hosted since 1966, so they’ve been waiting 30 years longer than the U.S. has been.
So why all the outrage? The disappointment I get. What soccer fan wouldn’t be hopeful for an event like this to come to their country? But 1994 wasn’t that long ago, especially when you look at how long other countries have waited.
Looking around Twitter, who the U.S. lost to is no doubt what has upset some people, with Qatar being a small country that has never qualified for a World Cup. But FIFA has shown a desire recently to take the World Cup to places it hasn’t been before and to further grow the game. In 2010, we saw the event take place on the continent of Africa for the first time. 2018 will be Russia’s first opportunity to host the event. And Qatar’s winning bid for 2022 means the World Cup will take place in the Middle East for the first time.
Help me out here. If the U.S. hadn’t just hosted a World Cup in the ’90s, if soccer powerhouses hadn’t waited longer than we have to host their second World Cup, and if there weren’t regions who have never hosted the event before, I think I’d better understand people’s anger.
Those of you who are outraged, what am I missing?