Where is The 2018 FIFA World Cup Being Held?
The FIFA World Cup, is the ultimate football tournament for any player to win. It is one of the largest sporting spectacles when it is held every 4 years. Perhaps the only larger sporting event than the FIFA World Cup is the Olympic Games.
With the 21st World Cup approaching in two years time, we take a look now at when and where the latest edition of this footballing spectacle will be taking place. With preparations already underway we will not have to wait too long to witness it.
Who Is The Host Nation?
The host nation for the 21st football world cup in 2018 will be Russia. Chosen in 2010, it will be the first European country since 2006 to have been chosen to host the FIFA World Cup. The last country to do so being Germany (with Italy coming out as the overall winners).
The bidding process for the 2018 World Cup began way back in January 2009. FIFA decided at the time that both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups would be bid for. Initially, there were 9 bids to host the 2018 World Cup. This number quickly dropped down to 7 when Mexico dropped out its bid and Indonesia had it's bid rejected.
Eventually there were only 4 bids left in the voting process for the 2018 World Cup. These were England, Russia, Netherlands/Belgium, and Spain/Portugal. The ultimate decision as to who won the bid was made by a 22 person FIFA Executive Committee. This is made up of members of football confederations and associations (i.e. UEFA).
The Spain/Portugal bid placed in 2nd place behind the Russian one with the English bid finishing in 4th.
Did You Know?
An estimated 715 million people watched the 2006 FIFA World Cup final between Italy and France. It was settled by a penalty shootout with Italy coming out victorious (5 v 3).
Controversies of FIFA 2018
Unfortunately for the sport of football, FIFA has been at the center of a number of high profile scandals recently affecting some of its highest members (including former Chairman Sepp Blatter).
There have been claims made that the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids may have been corrupted by bribery. In particular the 2022 World Cup has garnered a lot of media attention surrounding this issue. Given that Qatar has no large footballing connections, it seems strange to some that they would be chosen to be the hosts.
The 2018 Russian bid received criticism because of Russia's poor attitudes towards racism and homophobia (which some say is rife in the country). Russian foreign policy in Crimea and other Eastern European enclaves has also led to some UK and US politicians calling for countries to boycott the tournament. FIFA president at the time Sepp Blatter hit back at these people by saying that Russia had been chosen and that 'work was going ahead'.
The financial crisis in Russia has also caused some problems with the completion of the 2018 World Cup preparations. In June 2015, a Russian government decree cut the budget for the World Cup by $560 million. However, the total cost was still expected to be somewhere in the region of $11.8 billion.
Where Is The Final Being Held?
Out of the 12 football stadiums to hold football matches during World Cup 2018, the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow has been chosen for the final. This is the largest of all the stadiums being used with 81000 seats and is currently the home to most Russian National football games.
Previously, it has been the home of CSKA Moscow, Torpedo Moscow and Spartak Moscow football clubs. However, none of these currently use the stadium.
Another interesting fact about this football stadium is that it is one of few European National football stadiums to use artificial grass. It was decided in 2002 to install this pitch because of the harsh Russian winters. These would mean that the turf had to keep being replaced regularly at a very high cost.
The third and fourth place playoffs during this World Cup are not being held in Moscow though. Instead, they will be held at the Piter Arena in St Petersberg. This stadium, still under construction, is expected to seat 68000 fans and will be the home of FC Zenit Saint Petersburg when it is not being used in the World Cup.