Friday, 3 December 2010

Back in the USSR

As an Englishman, albeit one that isn't actually living in the country at the moment, I was desperate for the nation to win the chance to host the 2018 Football World Cup. Imagine that - sometime in the future being able to watch some of the greats of the game on your doorstep. As it turned out, England fell short and the organising committee stumped for Russia. Despite my allegiances and the shrinking chance of being able to say “I saw it in my lifetime”, I'm sure the Russians will put on a great show.

I often view sport as a good vehicle for peeling back the layers of what’s going on around us. Yesterday's news did get me thinking about how the world is constantly changing, even if a lot of us haven't quite woken up to the new reality. If I were to think back 20-odd years I would have been hard pressed to imagine two closed Communist states (one of which was still part of the wider confederation of the USSR), a developing country best known for its favela gun crime and samba, and a country still trapped in an apartheid regime, being given the chance to host the two biggest sporting events on the planet. But China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa have just been, or sometime in the next eight years going to be, the setting of the Olympic Games and Football World Cup. Brazil have admittedly already hosted a World Cup before – but getting the chance to do it again and the Olympics as well?! Throw in the fact that India has just hosted a Commonwealth Games and Qatar won the 2022 World Cup bid and you get a sense of changes in our lifetime. This isn’t an economics piece on the shift from old world to emerging world; it’s just an observation of what we can expect in the future. Embrace it and don't get left behind.

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