Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles It's December 2nd, 2010, and the International Federation of Association Football, or FIFA, gathered in Switzerland to announce which country would host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and they had assembled a powerful audience. Here's former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who was there to back the U.S. bid. And here's Prince William working on behalf of England's bid behind him is the prime minister of the Netherlands and former prime minister of Belgium, who together submitted a joint bid. But even with all this political power in one room, the fate of their countries lay in the hands of these guys. The 22 FIFA officials with the power to pick the host. They were considered gods by the bidding nations. They were the masters of their destiny. But many of these men have been accused of abusing their power. And this was the moment they took it a step too far. 2018 FIFA World Cup, ladies and gentlemen, will be organized in Russia.! The 2022 FIFA World Cup is ... Qatar! The decision is still one of the worst decisions made by a sporting organization. It was a catastrophe for FIFA. They've had their whole legacies called into question. The announcement set off a cascade of events that rocked the world of football and nearly broke FIFA. Rampant and deep rooted corruption. Corruption and bribery. Corruption in the international hearing and money laundering. How did FIFA go from organizing one of the most beloved sporting events in the world to corrupting it? In the early 20th century? Football was already super popular, mainly in Europe and South America, where national teams had begun playing each other. So a group of officials in France formed FIFA in 1904 to oversee these competitions and promote the sport. In 1930, inspired by the Olympics, they decided to start their own tournament. The first question was who would host it? Out of FIFA's 44 member countries at the time, six place bids to host it. FIFA's Congress, made up of one representative from each country, was put in charge of voting for a winner. But really, this vote was a facade. So, there was no bid contest. It was effectively decided behind closed doors by a bunch of committee men. Eventually, FIFA awarded Uruguay the rights to host the first World Cup, and it was a fitting place to do it. Uruguay had just won the last two Olympic gold medals in football, but it also agreed to pay for a lot, including the travel expenses of other teams and share the profits with FIFA. In July 1930, 13 teams came together to play. Uruguay beat Argentina in the finals. And FIFA made a solid profit, mostly from ticket sales. The World Cup was a success. Over the next couple of decades, FIFA decided to rotate the tournament between Europe and South America. The World Cup wasn't a grandiose thing back then. You know, there were some upgrades to the stadiums and to existing infrastructure and there might be some marketing going on. But the World Cup wasn't a truly global event. That all changed when it went on TV. I am very pleased that this country is acting as host for the final of the World Cup. Once the whole world could watch the tournament, the host nation became much more visible, leading many more countries to want to host. In virtually every country, football has now such a following that no government can afford to ignore it. Through the sixties and seventies, FIFA's membership started exploding. By the eighties, it had close to 170 members, mostly divided into six confederations with their own qualifying tournaments. And the organization kept getting richer. Take a look at how FIFA's profits grew steadily with almost every tournament until, boom, the 1980s. That's when World Cup sponsorships, merchandise and TV rights became worth millions. All of this money was largely controlled by 24 officials. The leaders of each confederation and some senior officials, like the president. This group was called the executive committee or ExCo. They had the power to distribute FIFA's money to its member countries for building football fields, holding tournaments and establishing youth programs. Very often this was done about any checks in place. Lots of money was siphoned off. You know, development a money kickback became almost standard practice in certain parts of the world. FIFA leaders began using corrupt practices to gain and retain power. The corruption that went on suited the two presidents. Havelange was nakedly corrupt and took bribes as well. That’s well documented. Sepp Blatter was very different. He was addicted to power. There was a cabal of nakedly corrupt committeemen within FIFA and Mr. Blatter ignored their excesses because he relied on their support to keep himself in power. It was in this culture of corruption that FIFA in 1964 decided to take the vote away from Congress and give it to ExCo, meaning that to host the World Cup, countries only needed to win the votes of a majority of ExCo, just 13 of them. The fact that such a small body of men had such a powerful position vested among them without any real checks and balances. Yeah, it absolutely made corruption part of it. FIFA's corruption wasn't a secret, but they had moved their headquarters to Switzerland long ago and that meant their finances couldn't really be traced to confirm corruption, at least for another decade. The 2006 World Cup bid was the most competitive in FIFA's history. It had previously begun accepting bids from countries outside of Europe and South America. It awarded hosting rights to the U.S. in ‘94 and South Korea and Japan in 2002. For the 2006 World Cup, five countries wanted to host it and for good reason. I think there's a huge amount of prestige that it brings to not just the country, but the leadership of the country. It's sort of a step on the way towards nation building. With more and more countries desperate for World Cup prestige, FIFA found ways to play them off each other. The bidding countries spent millions of dollars on a two year gantlet of PR events to impress FIFA and try to outdo each other by promising new stadiums, hotels, infrastructure and lucrative TV offers. This became the well-known public facing side of the bidding process. That was the start, I think, where the World Cup became really very heavily politicized. When the 2006 vote came to a close, ExCo chose Deutschland. Thanks to one voter abstaining at the last moment. Journalists had later revealed that Germany had bribed at least four ExCo members for their votes, including the official who abstained. It was the first publicly reported incident that revealed FIFA had another layer to its bidding process that involved cutting deals with ExCo members under the table because of a lack of criteria that governed where the World Cup was going to go. The old man who sat on its executive committee were wined and dined and indulged for a significant period of time and in some cases quite handsomely remunerated. And it happened again for the 2010 World Cup bid, which South Africa won. Allegations would later emerge that it too had paid ExCo members for their votes. This shadier side of the bid was becoming vital to winning, and in the next two bids it would destroy the legacy of the World Cup. In the lead up to this announcement, FIFA had decided that the 2018 Cup would be in Europe. Four bidders emerged. England, with its expansive infrastructure, was the heavy favorite. For the same reasons, the U.S.