Thursday, December 09, 2010

Qatar 2022, let the surreal continue

It has been over a week since FIFA dropped another bombshell on the world of football - Qatar 2022. I think the arguments over the merit of the Russian victory for 2018 have more to do with how the voting occurred in particular how favorite England was quickly eliminated (the Holland-Belgium bid received 4 first round votes and then only 2 in the next round, clearly voters looked to prevent England from winning) than whether or not Russia deserved the tournament. I realize that the corruption as well as racism has been written about at length, much of which from the English press, but some of this sounds more like sour grapes.

Qatar fans have something to cheer about
However the Qatar 2022 victory still baffles me. While I enjoyed watching Alexi Lalas and Gulati turning pale on the announcement, I remain shocked by the decision of going to Qatar. Like I said in my post, there is nothing NOTHING other than petro-dollars that make sense for bringing a World Cup to a nation the geographic size of the Fakland Islands, who have qualified for as many World Cups as the Fakland Island team has....none. Now there are suggestions to play the tournament in the winter, to avoid the 130F temperatures in Qatar. Winter? Really??? Now maybe that would force the EPL to adopt a winter break, but seriously?? Winter?  Just shocking.

Blatter continues to cover himself in embarrassment, not that he is aware of it. He babbles about bringing football to the Middle East, expanding the reach of football yaddy yaddy yadda. I give him some credit for seeing the marketing potential of moving the tournament to different locations, but how about starting with locations that make sense - Australia anyone? Blatter and FIFA have otherwise lost the plot. They are arguably one of the most powerful NGOs (non government organization) in the world but have acquired this power not because of their leadership but because the product they "govern" sells itself. Imagine how much better the game could be if FIFA were run by a competent leader. A small part of me hopes that in 2 years someone creates and productises a non fossil fuel combustion engine, dries up the petrodollars and forces Qatar to abandon their bid....wishful thinking I realize.


josemanes said...

The decision by FIFA to have the 2022 World Cup in Qatar remains shocking and puzzling. Was it done to promote soccer in the Middle East or was it done for money? With the 2002 & 2010 World Cups, the promotion of soccer seemed genuine. However, it is not clear in the case of Qatar. It is hard to ignore the huge amount of money involved. Adding the aspect of Qatar's lack of soccer qualification as you pointed out well and it becomes extremely questionable. I think that FIFA is walking a dangerous line with this decision. Do they really want the sport to be perceived as a possible sell-out, one that appears to be bought off by money? I support the idea of bringing more exposure of soccer to the Middle East. However, the criteria for winning the bid should include soccer merit, not just earning potential. I really like your suggestion of a joint bid between Saudi Arabia & Qatar. This definitely would have been more understandable, given Saudi Arabia's soccer history...You make a lot of good points Guy. I just hope that the integrity of our beautiful game is not destroyed by questionable FIFA decisions.

Jean-Fran├žois said...

Seeded teams for 2022 WC groups

Oh, and of course, Qatar.

GFC said...

Sigh, that listed of seeded teams looks strange! I thought having South Africa as a #1 seed was odd...but Qatar? The sad part is that, barring Qatar's ability to naturalize 25 Brazilians by then, they will be undoubtedly the weakest host nation and may set some records with regards to futility.

Of course do not put it past FIFA to find a way to get Qatar a group that consists of New Zealand, Belarus and Costa Rica...and then find a way to get them through to the knock out stages! Sorry was that being cynical?

There was an error in this gadget