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ZURICH (AP) — Qatar was selected as host of the 2022 World Cup, beating out a bid by the United States to bring soccer's showcase back to America for the first time since 1994.
FIFA's executive committee choose Qatar — a nation smaller than Connecticut, which has promised to overcome 130-degree heat with air conditioned stadiums — over the U.S., Australia, Japan and South Korea in a secret vote Thursday.
Minutes earlier, Russia was announced as host of the 2018 tournament. It was chosen over England and joint bids by Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium.
"We go to new lands," FIFA president Sepp Blatter said.
Following corruption allegations that led to two of 24 FIFA executive committee members being excluded from the vote, the decision was bound to be controversial even before it was made. It also will cause American sports executives to question what they have do to host another international event.
Qatar, with a population smaller than that of Houston, used its 30-minute presentation to underline how the tournament could unify a region ravaged by conflict. Presenters also promised to dismantle the stadiums built for the tournament and give them to needy nations.
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