Below is a list of notable new items for Russia 2018:
A FAN ID will be required in ADDITION to a ticket to enter games. This is covered in more detail on this site here.
VAR (Video Assistant Review)
VAR has been tested in leagues like MLS in recent years in an attempt to ensure vital moments in the games are called correctly. Think about it – soccer is a game of moments and what happens in a few seconds time can be a game changer. Why risk that? Think of Germany vs. England in 2014 or better yet, Argentina vs. England in 1986 and the infamous “Hand of God” by Maradona.
It will sure cause some controversy but not nearly as much as a goal not being counted or a clear foul being missed. Let’s not forget how the game will be much cleaner (i.e. players can’t dive and exaggerate fouls if their every action is scrutinized).
For first time ever, the World Cup draw was determined by FIFA Rankings. This means that Pot 1 had the highest 8 ranked teams, Pot 2 had the next 8 highest ranked teams, etc. Doing so ensure much more balanced groups and doesn’t pit 3 Top 10 ranked teams in the same group.
In USA – FOX over ESPN
For many USA fans, their World Cup memories have always been synchronous with ESPN. Well, in a massive deal worth $400 MILLION, FOX outbid ESPN for the 2018 and 2022 rights. In a less than ethical image, FIFA also granted the 2026 rights to FOX in a deal that didn’t allow outside bidders. This was done after the 2022 World Cup was given to Qatar and not USA and…after the USA team failed to qualify for the first time since 1986 after losing to Trinidad 2-1 in its penultimate qualifying game October 2017. And THEN, the USA is granted the 2026 World Cup with only Morocco as a competitor (OK, Canada and Mexico are part of the hosts in 2026, too, but that seems like a weak blanket to cover up some potential shadiness).
So to recap…
- FOX pays $400 MILLION for 2018 and 2022 English TV rights in USA
- USA does not get the 2022 hosting bid…loses to QATAR
- USA does not qualify for Russia 2018
- FIFA grants FOX the 2026 English TV rights in USA without opening a bid
- USA wins hosting bid (in combo with Canda and Mexico) for 2026 World Cup