A new decade began in 2010 and Fifa was determined to make a mark upon it.
Soccer’s global governing body brought its monumental showpiece, the Fifa World Cup, to a new continent: South Africa played host to the biggest single-sport event of them all in June and July.
Concerns before the tournament had centred on the country’s problems with violent crime; afterwards, they would linger on the high spend on infrastructure and limited opportunities for local businesses. In the moment, South Africa did a fine job, even if there was little the organisers could do to improve a low-scoring and heavy-legged tournament on the fi eld. Memories of vuvuzelas and orangeclad ambush beer marketers are probably stronger than they are of almost any of the actual matches, as Spain battled through packed defences to confirm their pre-eminence.
Perhaps emboldened by their midsummer adventures, Fifa president Sepp Blatter and his executive committee ended the year with what soon looked like a staggering overreach. At the end of a busy, grubby bidding campaign, Russia and Qatar were named as the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Despite concerns over their technical suitability, the two first-time hosts saw off some of the sport’s elite powers. December’s vote in Zurich would come to define an era at Fifa, and sow the seeds of its leadership’s destruction.
I think the fact that women have kind of bubbled up in sports comes from the fact that only in my generation major sports federations started to recognise women
HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, president, FEI – Issue 25
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