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Russia wins World Cup bid in parrot-sickening travesty

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Updated The 2018 World Cup has been awarded to Russia.

Rival bids from Spain/Portugal, England, and the Netherlands/Belgium were rejected in favour of bringing football home to the world's largest country.

Disappointed crowds would be thronging Piccadilly Square and Trafalgar Square if it were not for snow-related transport disruption. Prime Minister David Cameron, who attended the England bid presentation in Zurich, was back in London in time for the announcement. By contrast, his Russian counterpart Vladamir Putin didn't bother to attend.

Russia is yet to build 13 stadiums, with transportation around the vast country almost certainly guaranteed to be a huge headache for fans. The tournament has never been staged in Eastern Europe before.

A secret ballot of the 22-member Fifa executive committee decided the result. The hosts of the 2022 edition of the World Cup were also decided, with the tournament awarded to the small desert kingdom of Qatar.

Rumours from Zurich suggest voters punished England for its media's "hostile" coverage of allegations of corruption at Fifa over recent weeks in the run-up to the vote. The Beeb's decision to air an edition of Panorama on Monday focusing on allegation of corruption at the world's football governing body may have been particularly untimely.

The World Cup has never been to either eastern Europe or the Middle East before. So Fifa's decision to take the tournament to new territories might be spun as bold.

However Russia and Qatar had the worst technical assessments of their bid among the respective candidates.

It's hard to see how running the tournament in a small desert country in the middle east in 2022, instead of either Australia or the US, benefits either players or fans.

Before you can buy alcohol in Qatar you have to get a residency permit, and a letter from an employer. Tourists can't bring alcohol in but they can buy (expensive) alcoholic drinks at bars. It's hardly a place to bring kids either. ®

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