Australia’s dream of hosting the 2022 World Cup was dashed by Qatar, which was announced as the host nation for the tournament by FIFA president Sepp Blatter at the Zurich Exhibition Centre.
The Middle East nation defeated Australia, USA, Japan and Korea Republic after a hotly contested bidding process.
There was no fairytale ending in the snow-covered Swiss city for Frank Lowy and his team following a stomach-churning final day.
The Australian team had to sit through Russia being announced as 2018 World Cup hosts before discovering the nation’s fate.
“The winner is Qatar,” Blatter said to dash Australia’s hopes.
Having captured the 2000 Sydney Olympics in 1993, Australia stood as a genuine contender to host the world’s biggest sporting event entering the final day of the campaign.
Considering the mess the sport was in a decade ago, the boldness and effort required to be seriously considered demonstrated how far the nation has come in the world game.
Australia had gone into the contest believing it was a good chance of winning at its first attempt and it is a crushing blow for the bid’s inspiration Lowy and his team.
Lowy will be 91 in 2022 and said this week he didn’t expect to be around to watch Australia host a World Cup if it missed out on Thursday.
“I will be watching from somewhere else,” he said.
It could well be a very long time before Australia is in such a strong position to capture the event with Asia only viewed as a possible host for every third World Cup at best.
If China nets the 2026 edition, don’t worry about Lowy missing out on witnessing a World Cup on Australian soil.
With the rotation these days between Europe, the Americas and Africa as well, there might not be many of us around to watch it with the next genuine shot being for the 2038 or 2042 editions.
It is also a missed opportunity to alter the sporting landscape in Australia and Football Federation Australia officials will return home to refocus their efforts on the A-League.
A damning evaluation report from FIFA on the oppressive heat in Qatar in June and July meant little as the tiny Middle East nation won the vote.
The splitting of European nations for the 2018 bid had appeared to have aided Australia’s cause as it cut the field to five bids.
A damning report on Qatar looked to have helped as did anti-USA sentiment that lingers across the world.
South Korea and Japan hosted the event in 2002 and that is like yesterday in World Cup terms.
Australia’s promise of a trouble-free event and positioning itself as the second choice of delegates had appeared to be a wise one for the later rounds of the voting.
But with the voting rounds not immediately released, it is hard to know how close Australia came to a win.
For full bid coverage visit The World Game website.