No one is happy about this. This being FIFA’s decision to hold the 2022 edition of the World Cup, football’s grandest international tournament in Qatar. And, it’s not football snobbery that’s the plaguing the internet forums. The most contentious issue without doubt with the decision is moving the beloved tournament to an untraditional winter commencement.
Let’s start with the good points about this arrangement. This shouldn’t take too long. FIFA claims that holding such a renowned event in a country less interested in football will spread word of football and help develop Qatar’s and the surrounding nations’ footballing abilities. And to be fair, that is a good point. In fact, if that was the only, genuine reason and there weren’t so many faults with the decision, I’d probably back Blatter and co.’s decision.
Unfortunately, the bid was also full of holes such as the ignorance of Qatar’s scorching hot summers that would make playing football in almost impossible. As a result, Blatter proposed a Winter World Cup which has angered football fans across the globe. Not only is his idea a breach of decades of tradition, it would also be a monumental disruption to the major domestic leagues around the world, something many a football fan tend to value more. There are too, no stadia fit for the World Cup currently in Qatar, meaning up to eight venues would have to be constructed within the next 9 years. On top of the logistical issues, there are huge social issues too. Male homosexuality is illegal in Qatar meaning any gay man making the trip would be at risk of imprisonment and five years in prison. When Sepp Blatter was rightly criticised for allowing the event to be held there he simply told LGBT fans to keep a low profile. Not only is the decision to hold the tournament in Qatar, a painful inconvenience it is also dangerous to one cross-section of football fans. Maybe we shouldn’t be inviting an intolerant nation to embrace the ‘beautiful game’.
It really does beg the question; what were the voters thinking? How on earth, given all of this information could this scorching, homophobic nation be a better choice than say the United States or Australia? Two countries that don’t endanger certain members of society through human rights violations. Two countries who could hold a competition in the northern hemisphere’s summer months without people evaporating. Two countries with expanding domestic leagues that would be hugely benefited by the promotion the World Cup brings.
It simply makes no sense to isolate the vast majority of football fans and domestic leagues to appease one tiny country not even remotely interested in football. Well, it doesn’t until you remember what a corrupt, selfish, money-grabbing scheme Sepp Blatter currently employs at FIFA HQ. Rumours spread that Russia had effectively bought their bid’s victory for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and given how feeble Qatar’s claim to the tournament is, you can safely assume money played a part here.
We continue to await the inevitable confirmation of the tournament’s move to Winter and eagerly we hope that the main footballing bodies elsewhere will stand up to Fifa and tell them where to shove it. Will they? I wouldn’t count on it.
- Football Could See it’s First Winter World Cup in Qatar 2022 (johnotuwehinmi.wordpress.com)