RUSSIA AND QATAR TO HOST FIFA WORLD CUPS

FIFA has announced Russia will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup while Qatar will host the 2022 tournament.

It will be the first time the prestigious event will be played in two very different regions and also very different climates.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter said: "I have to say thanks to the Executive Committee of FIFA because for 2018 and 2022 we go to new lands, because the FIFA World Cup has never been in eastern Europe or the Middle East."

It was one of the biggest media events ever seen in Switzerland with around 70 TV stations reporting live and over 1,000 reporters from all over the world covering the event.

"So, I'm a happy president when we speak of the development of football," he added.

"But I have to give big compliments to all the bidders for the big job they have done and the messages they have delivered.

"All have delivered the message that football is more than just a game. Football is not only about winning; it is also a school of life where you must learn to lose, and that is not easy."

The statement will come as little consolation to England, Netherlands/Belgium and Spain/Portugal who submitted bids for the right to stage the 2018 finals.

Both Spain and England have previously hosted a FIFA World Cup which appears to have been a deciding factor.

England hosted and won the tournament in 1966 with Spain staging the 1982 event, when the trophy was won by Italy.

Igor Shuvalov, Russia's deputy prime minister, vowed that his country would not disappoint and said: "You have entrusted us with the FIFA World Cup for 2018 and I can promise that you will never regret it. Let us make history together."

Qatar won the right to host the 2022 tournament over Australia and also previous host nations Korea Republic, Japan and USA. Japan and Korea were the first World Cup joint hosts in 2002 with the US staging the finals in 1994.

Qatar 2022 bid team member Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani said: "Thank you for believing in change, for expanding the game and for giving Qatar a chance.

"You will be proud of us - and you will be proud of the Middle East. I promise you this."

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Posted on 02/12/2010