World Cup Football: Geopolitical Statement

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World Cup Football: Geopolitical Statement

The economies across the globe struggling to recover, all major industries being already collapsed some are still affected badly; one of the major industries out of these are sports and tourism. Studies say the sports industry lost nearly $61 billion in last year’s revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When we are talking about the sports and tourism industry –  FIFA World Cup has a huge impact on the economy as well as the tourism industry; why do we focus on the World Cup here? It’s because the most awaited 2022 Qatar World Cup is almost here.

Tourism is often cited as a major benefit of hosting the FIFA World Cup.  Qatar – the peninsular middle-eastern nation is getting ready to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Qatar is going to host one of the biggest sporting tourist events in the world which are generally considered prideful and challenging to any country. The World Cup is held between 32 national teams-format and an individual nation will be hosting it. It is officially reported that from the 2026 World Cup the number of participating teams will be raised to 48 nations with 80 games and more than 16 stadiums for a month. Some sports analysts reported that nearly ten million international guests visited the Russian World Cup in 2018, the same or higher number of people are anticipated to witness this spectacular event, this brings the opportunity to develop tourism and economy whereas this scenario also brings challenges for managing these numbers of visitors. Single-country hosting is currently under ambiguity where issues like defense, infrastructure, and investment-maintenance costs will be a huge concern. 

The 2026 World Cup in the USA, Mexico, and Canada, and future bids for the 2030 World Cup are mostly conducted with cooperation between the countries. United’s bid for the USA, Canada, and Mexico to be elected winners by overcoming contender Morocco in 2018; its budgetary strength and the size of the hosting country will be considered the most considered factor among voters. FIFA predicts a budget of $6.6 billion for the 2026 World Cup, although it is not a big money for the USA and its allies. The recession in 2020 was a big blow for Morocco competing for hosting. 

The last World Cups in 2010 and 2014 were held in poverty-stricken countries and invited a lot of political protests in the preparation. Experts assume that 2026 will bring the light for future bids for the 48 nations and millions of visitors. Argentina and Uruguay are two countries expecting to bid to host the World Cup in 2030. The first World Cup was hosted in Uruguay and they were the first champions, but since then they couldn’t host another World Cup and they were not influential enough to host it alone. This time Uruguay is allying with Argentina which has the capacity. Paraguay and Chile, the neighbors with a lot of problems with each other in politics, are also confirmed toward a combined bid. This will be a good sign of cooperation among the countries. 

Balkan countries Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia regularly had political and military difficulties and confirmed their united bid. Morocco expressed their desires for hosting the World Cup, which will be a hurdle during this difficult time. However, they expect their Maghreb allies Algeria and Tunisia; England and Spain are also looking to host the World Cup. Countries like these have stable economies, well-maintained stadiums, and other infrastructure they are looking to join in a bid for England to agree with other UK nations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Spain is also planning to collaborate with its next-door neighbor Portugal. 

Football is the king of all sports, it has a gigantic viewership and is considered as one of the biggest businesses in the world. By extending the participation of nations, FIFA expects highly populated nations like China and India in the final rounds. By joining the bid, hosting nations expect more tourism, industrial, and infrastructure development, and more. The bid of 2026 is also meant for the expansion of MLS (Major League Soccer) and Liga MX (Mexican Football League); two professional leagues in North America. This helps native leagues for their growth where they can utilize their infrastructure to host World Cup and increase their trade and revenue in their country’s geopolitics and economic advantages.

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