USA Passed Over to Host FIFA World Cup for...Qatar??


The United States, despite an all-out effort to secure the 2022 World Cup, lost out to Qatar.

FIFA announced its decision Thursday morning in Zurich, Switzerland, where its 22-man committee heard bids and voted.

The oil-rich Middle Eastern country becomes the first Arab nation to host the World Cup.

The 2018 World Cup, meanwhile, was awarded to Russia, dealing a blow to the Spain-Portugal contingent and other hopeful countries. Russia got the nod despite its prime minister, Vladimir Putin, skipping Wednesday's crucial bid presentation.

FIFA, the world soccer body, made its decision under a cloud of suspicion. Independent media reports accused three of its executive committee members of receiving secret payments from its former marketing agency.

Two of its members were suspended, too, on allegations of corruption.

Qatar, the smallest nation to host the World Cup, used its 30-minute presentation to underline how the tournament could unify a region ravaged by conflict. Presenters also promised to overcome summer heat of up to 130 degrees by air conditioning outdoor stadiums it will build, then dismantle and give to needy nations.

Some of the outdoor stadiums still have to be built, however.

Still, Qatar says it will live up to its responsibility.

"Thank you for believing in change, thank you for believing in expanding the game, thank you for giving Qatar a chance," said Sheikh Mohammad bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar's bid chairman. "We will not let you down. You will be proud of us, you will be proud of the Middle East and I promise you this."

It was the second international loss in the year for the U.S., which was led by former President Bill Clinton during its final presentation Wednesday. Last year, the International Olympic Committee chose Rio de Janeiro over Chicago and others for the 2016 Olympics despite a personal lobbying effort by President Barack Obama.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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