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OT: Spanish press on World Cup decisions

19

Hot off the presses: Spain's national team coach, Vicente del Bosque, has accused Russia of buying the 2018 World Cup by bribing members of the committee. Background: The Cup was in South Africa in 2010, and will be in Brazil in 2014. There's a rule that they can't have the Cup in the same continent/federation twice in a row. So Europe (UEFA), Asia, and the CONCACAF were eligible for 2018 and 2022, as it wasn't likely they'd go back to Africa so soon. Spain/Portugal put in a bid. Russia's victory for 2018 knocked out all the other European candidacies for 2022, leaving it basically up to the US vs. Qatar, and Qatar came out on top. Notes from today's La Vanguardia, the main Barcelona newspaper, page 63: "Another beating for Spain." "The safest bids, the Iberian, the English, and the American, were rejected in favor of two risky ventures at the level of South Africa last summer." "Spain and Portugal had a very solid project. The Iberian Peninsula is Europe's largest amusement park, with sunny landscapes that attract 70 million tourists a year. They had promised to sell a record 3.7 million tickets and plant 1000 trees for every goal scored in the tournament." "Spain was accused of making a deal with Qatar in order to gain the votes of the Latin American and Asian delegates. The FIFA investigated and, as usual, nothing could be proven. On Monday the BBC accused three members of the executive committee of taking bribes." "Russia was the favorite of the president of the FIFA, Sepp Blatter, for the 2018 tournament...The Kremlin will have to make an effort, valued at 2.8 billion dollars, to build thirteen stadiums in eleven cities, in addition to basic infrastructure." "Two billion people live within a four-hour flight of Qatar..." (although 1.75 billion of them can't possibly afford a plane ticket, much less spend money attending a sports event). "The El Thani family, which governs the tiny Persian Gulf country, has promised 50 billion dollars (bad conversion? 5 billion in American numbers?) to build a train network and extend the freeways. The stadiums will be cooled with solar energy."

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