Thursday, December 02, 2010

World Cup 2018 and 2022....WTF...Qatar, seriously?

Clearly my predictive skills are not that good...I thought England would get the 2018 World Cup, and they did not even make it past the first round! I also thought The United States would get the 2022 World Cup....and that went to the state of Connecticut...I mean Qatar a nation the same size as Connecticut and I would argue whose national team would have difficulty defeating an All-Connecticut team! So what happened? Petro-dollars? Insanity? Practical joke?

First, I am not entirely surprised by Russia winning the 2018 bid. I truly thought that England would get the tournament, it was finally their time to get the showcase soccer event. However, England was out in the first round. I will agree with my fellow podcaster - Gooner - that England has more enemies than friends when it comes to international football. Between their arrogance associated with the EPL, the British press, the feeling of entitlement when it comes to the game and the list goes on, makes for the English constituency not very likable. Not that Russia and Putin give you the warm and fuzzies! It does make sense to see the world's game move to Eastern Europe.

What really was shocking...was how did Qatar get the 2022 World Cup? How? Seriously??? Okay first question, how many World Cups have Qatar played in? Anyone? ZERO! At least South Africa had qualified for a World Cup! Okay, I am sure that Qatar has done well in their regional tournament - the Asian Cup. Want to guess their best result? Quarter finalist in 2000, wow! That is some footballing pedigree. Okay they have won the Gulf Cup of Nations twice, in 1992 and 2004 defeating Bahrain and Oman, two global soccering nations. Wonder where Qatar is ranked in the FIFA world soccer rankings....not that I give those much credence...but they are ranked 113...ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTEENTH right behind Central African Republic, even Haiti is ahead of Qatar at 101...I have had players from the Haitian national team on my mens' league team. So basically Qatar's international soccer squad has the same level of quality that have played on my over 30 mens' soccer team! I understand that there is some value in bringing such an event to the Middle East, but to Qatar? Had the bid been a joint bid with Saudi Arabia, I would understand the reasoning. Add to this the fact in the summer temperatures easily reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit...those are not good conditions in which to play football, actually physically dangerous. Of course Qatar is promising to build air conditioned stadiums...that includes the field being air-conditioned.

I guess if you throw enough money you could air condition a nation for a 30 day period! Add to this the geographic size of Qatar and the fact the majority of the venues will be within a 20 mile radius. Great if you want to try and see 2 games in a day, not so great if you are trying to house, feed and keep entertained all the fans that will be in that 20 mile radius. Germany and England not playing in the same group, no problem except their fans will be "mingling." Then again no beer allowed in Qatar so might not have any English fans in attendance, assuming the Three Lions qualify...There just seem to be too many logistical and practical issues with the bid...especially when you had the United Stated and Australia as better options (Japan and South Korea would have been good options had they not hosted in 2002).

I have a hard time grasping the reasoning behind this awarding. I think that there need to be some rules in place for nations to be allowed to bid - such as quality of domestic league and results from national side. Unlike the Olympics where there are dozens of events, it is based on a city not a nation and there is no "prestige" points to be had if the host does not do well, the World Cup takes place in a nation and there is a genuine benefit from having the host nation perform well. Alas, these aspects are not there in Qatar. But I guess the petro-dollars that must have found their way to individuals' pockets outweigh the sanity that should have dictated the decision.


Jean-Fran├žois said...

Qatar is truely a surprise. I guess I'm lucky I am studying Arabic in university..... Let's just hope that France draws Qatar in group stage.

Hard to believe that we're talking about a world cup in which none of the current team will partake in.... With the exception of (possibly) M'vila, he will be 32. Maybe Lloris as well.

If Qatar throws as much money into the project as they're promising it will probably be pretty exciting.

GFC said...

There is no doubt that the money, today at least, is available for the massive investments that will need to be made. But 12 years is a long time and much can change with regards to the region as well as the petro-dollar!

It is hard to grasp the fact that we really have no idea what the French national team will look like for that World Cup, well any team for that matter.

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