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For those who take planning deadly seriously, look no further than Fifa's World Cup. The world knows where the next three tournaments will be staged. It has already known this for two years. After Brazil's tournament in two years' time, the Fifa circus will pitch its tent in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. For Qatar, that means it will have had 12 years not just to build the facilities needed for the global event but to promote itself.
Long-term planning is very much in Qatar's thinking, says Mike Lee, a consultant who advised Qatar on its 2022 world cup bid. The country has set a national vision up to 2030, which aims for a diversified economy and envisages significant investment in infrastructure, particularly public transport. "Winning the World Cup bid sits very well both in their national plan and arriving on the international stage," says Mr Lee.
The same could be said for Russia. The 2014 Winter Olympics, to be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, is already mobilising Russia to complete a massive infrastructure project that goes well beyond the logistical needs of the event itself.
Another "concerted national development effort" will be applied to the 2018 World Cup, says Jon Tibbs, also a consultant, who is advising on both the 2014 and 2018 projects. "Having the eyes of the world on their progress has galvanised Sochi 2014 to accelerate a generation's development into seven years, and I am sure the same will be true for Russia 2018," he says. "Things like environmental protection, disability rights and volunteerism were alien concepts to Russia. Now they are at the top of the national agenda, attracting attention and investment from the government and private sector."
The eyes of the world are on Qatar and Russia for other reasons. Allegations of corruption have been levelled at some members of Fifa's executive committee over the award of the world cup to the two countries.
Both countries have vehemently denied any wrongdoing. However, independent assessors who were appointed by Fifa examined the allegations and said they needed to be looked at by an independent investigator. Fifa has appointed such a person.
Jonathan Middup, who heads Ernst & Young's anti-corruption bribery team, says any country bidding for a leading tournament such as the World Cup "needs to be clean and be seen to be clean in all aspects of bidding". Some countries are "extremely slick" in their bidding, he adds. "Countries seek to use events like this as pivots and turning points. They can then use them as a fulcrum to show that the country has moved on, to be a showcase for the world. They seek to use these events to promote their status."
But the risk to national prestige also occurs when preparations for staging a tournament such as the World Cup are under way. As Brazil prepares for the 2014 tournament, the country's national reputation is very much in the thoughts of its political leaders. The courts are taking concerted action to cleanse the country of corruption. Guilty verdicts have been handed down in a vote-buying trial involving government officials and politicians.
In football, the cleansing operation appears to have forced the resignation of Ricardo Teixiera, the man who for more than a decade ran the game in Brazil and who sat on Fifa's executive committee.
Just as pressing is how Brazil is responding to the organisational challenges of completing world cup infrastructure projects to a hard deadline. Fifa has issued customary warnings about falling behind schedule, similar to the messages the governing body sent South Africa in the years leading up to the 2010 tournament.
But as Mr Middup warns, a climate that requires more public money to be spent in haste to complete building projects by a specific date is one that is ripe for financial wrongdoing. There are many contracts being issued worth millions of dollars, and the pressure is on companies to secure them. "It creates an environment for bribery and corruption to take place," Mr Middup says.
South Africa faced just these pressures in preparing for the 2010 tournament. It may be very different from Brazil in economic terms, yet both countries seek the same outcomes from hosting the World Cup. For South Africa, hosting the 2010 tournament was meant to meet a myriad of national aspirations - reconciliation, tourism growth, modernisation.
World Cup hosts, big or small economically, can use the tournament to boost regeneration, transport, hotel accommodation, leisure and tourism, says Mr Lee. That applies equally to Qatar and Russia. "For the next three World Cup hosts, as it was for South Africa, that is the nature of the prize that you are trying to secure."
The combination of hosting the next World Cup and the next Olympics is a huge opportunity for the country, he adds - to prove to perhaps a sceptical global audience that Brazil really is the future. "It is seen as reflecting a growing economic power, but perhaps they don't have the brand recognition and the understanding of what they can deliver," says Mr Lee.
Brazil has for some years now known that it has a point to prove. Back in 2009, when Brazil won the right to host the 2016 Olympics, ex-president Lula da Silva's immediate response was to point out how everyone had been talking about Brazil as the country of tomorrow. "Today, tomorrow just arrived," the former president quipped.