Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Qatar's out of the bag now

A terrible pun, whatever will I write next? Bad jokes and little asides in brackets?

I digress. Gather round everyone, I was going to talk about the Manchester Derby and spurt about two thousands words of nonsense in your direction, but I won't. Why?

Because the World Cup in 2022 is going to be held in Qatar. That's why.

The above sentence makes me think three things:
1. That's bloody ridiculous
2. Why aren't more people satirising this?
3. I must satirise this!

Of course, this Qatar thing has been known for about three years now, but today it appears that Europe's top leagues and clubs have consented to allow the world's biggest summer competition to be held in winter.

Before - like a fat kid rolling down a hill - I start this post/rant and then find it difficult to stop, I will acknowledge a few mitigating factors:

Yes, to hold the World Cup in the same two continents over and over again is detrimental to the world game, and new countries in less 'traditional' football continents should be allowed to host this most prestigious competition. This hasn't happened enough in recent years, except when USA hosted the competition in 1994...and Japan and Korea did in 2002...and South Africa did in 2010. To give the competition to an entirely new country is an idea to be commended, but what was wrong with Australia's bid?

OK, so there's only one mitigating factor.

Without sounding like a right-wing leaning, tabloid-consuming, prejudice-spurting idiot, there is no way a country like Qatar should be hosting this tournament.

Even if you forget the political tension in the Middle-East at the moment, forget the country's views on alcohol consumption and homosexual relations, and the billion degree heat, there are still more holes in the organisation of this tournament than a paper condom, with half the effectiveness.

And do you know what? It's not even Qatar's fault.

Qatar invested a lot of time and money into this bid and are currently embarking on a very ambitious project to 'get their country on the map' through bids for major sporting events, including a (failed) bid for the 2020 Olympics. It's a bit like Manchester City trying to buy the Premier League, only with greater implications. They are well within their rights to do whatever they want. Which is where FIFA come in.

Now, this is not typically English whinging because we didn't get the 2018 World Cup. This isn't being wise after the event with Captain Hindsight levels of "I told you so". Besides, I'm mostly Scottish. Now, while that technically doesn't mean I am qualified to talk about football, it does mean that I'm not being...well, English.

Forgive my suspicion, but isn't it strange that a very ambitious bid from a group of men with a lot of money and influence won the right to host this tournament? Particularly when said country has very little football pedigree (go on, name one Qatari footballer), has a climate which makes summer football impossible and a current lack of top-class football stadia. It's almost like FIFA were persuaded by another factor. Almost.

Unfortunately, money does play a big role in modern football. Look at the Premier League's wealth and it's arguably detrimental effect on English football. Look at Portsmouth and Rangers, who spent so much money just to compete and ended up like the sporting equivalent of Kerry Katona. It's not really about the game anymore, it's about business now. It's not just the clubs who are now concerned with the 'bottom-line' either, it appears the organisations are too.

Why men who are supposedly much smarter than you and I couldn't predict this scenario is staggering. I remember the day that it was announced Qatar would host the World Cup. I actually forgot Qatar were bidding for the tournament. I thought they were the token rubbish attempt to make up the numbers, a bit like Great Britain at the European Song Contest or Lukasz Fabianski. When I found out they had won, I walked slowly upstairs and punched my pillow for about three days. That anger then turned to incredulity and then curiosity as to how this would all work. The truth is, nobody even knows now, in spite of the apparently inevitable conclusion.

So, it appears that the World Cup will be moved to the northern hemisphere's winter. In the simplest terms, that is not a problem. Indeed, why should Europe dictate the state of the world game? Why should smaller countries not be given the chance to represent themselves on the world stage?

But then, why did Australia not propose a winter World Cup? Why do we have a summer World Cup in the first place? Why should the five or six most powerful leagues in the world now have to radically overhaul their schedule to accommodate one tournament, then radically overhaul them again when it is over? Doesn't make sense does it?

The whole episode feels like a teenager who has not done his coursework despite having had months to do so. It's a bit like said teenager realised his work was flimsy, so added a load of pretty fonts and pictures to distract attention from the utter shambles which has been submitted. Luckily, like that teenager, there is time to turn this around, but it looks like it will take the mother of all all-nighters and waffling conclusions to make it work.

Anyway, that is my rant over. The bad thing is, this a giant mess caused by a giant organisation. The good thing is, we have a giant organisation trying to sort it out.

Good luck with that.

No comments:

Post a Comment