FIFA has decided to go where no World Cup has gone before, Russia, with all its time zones and a sprawling event that is going to need a fortune in transport investments as well as all the spanking new stadiums.
It confirms FIFA boss Sepp Blatter’s desire to widen soccer’s bootprint to new parts of the world.
“Now we only need to prepare, we need to prepare seriously. We will of course have the experience of the 2014 Olympics, but it is a large-scale and serious competition,” said Russia’s President Medvedev.
Four years later, Qatar becomes the first Middle Eastern nation to host the event, the most remarkable of the FIFA executive committee’s choices. Qataris could hardly believe it as the news broke, and neither could the rest of the football world. More on the historic FIFA announcements in our sports section.