The selection of host country for the Football World Cup has changed over time. For all the World Cups between 1930 and 1998, the hosting rights alternated between either Europe, South America, and North America. It was not until the 2002 World Cup, when the tournament was hosted in Asia, that the World Cup was held outside of these three continents.
Initially in the bidding process for the 2002 World Cup, South Korea and Japan were competitors. However, just before the vote they agreed with FIFA to co-host the event. Unfortunately the rivalry and distance between the two countries led to organizational and logistical problems. We will not see a co-hosted event again as in 2004 FIFA officially stated that its statutes did not allow co-hosting bids.
The decision to award the 2006 World Cup to Germany was controversial, since it was widely expected that the tournament would take place in South Africa. The final tally was 12 votes to 11 in favor of Germany.
Future Host Cities
Following issues with bribery in the lead up to the vote for the 2006 World Cup host city, FIFA decided to rotate the hosting of the final tournaments between its confederations. After a review in 2007, FIFA decided to end the continental rotation policy in October 2007. Instead, countries that are members of the same confederation as either of the last two tournament hosts are ineligible. This policy made African countries ineligible for 2018 and South American countries ineligible for both 2018 and 2022. Other factors that are considered as part of the selection process include the number of suitable stadiums and potential for success and profit.
The first World Cup bidding process under continental rotation was the 2010 World Cup, in which FIFA accepted five bids from African nations. The winning nation was South Africa, making it the first World Cup held in Africa. It became the largest sporting event ever held on that continent, as the Olympics have yet to visit there.
The 2014 World Cup, which FIFA had earmarked for the South American region, is to be held in Brazil, since the South American Football Confederation made it their choice.
2018 and 2022 Bid
FIFA made a joint announcement on Dec 2, 2010 of the winning hosts for both 2018 and 2022. The 2018 World Cup was awarded to Russia. Other contenders for host country were England, and joint bidders Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium. For the 2022 event, the winner was Qatar. Other contenders for host country were Australia, Japan, South Korea and USA.