Thursday, December 2, 2010

World Cup 2022 - Fifa has failed us

Fifa made a massive mistake today in selecting Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup (I was hoping for Belgium/Netherlands for 2018, but I can accept the choice of Russia). Already this year FIFA have shown that they are out of touch with fans and players. Refusing to implement goal line technology because if they did the game "wouldn't be the same at all levels" is one example, no one believes or expects the game to be the same at all levels. Choosing Qatar shows that they have no idea what the World Cup means to fans. The World Cup is not just about the games themselves or grand air-conditioned stadiums. The World Cup is the world's greatest grassroots event. It is about impromtu parties in the streets and meeting people from around the world in local pubs. It is about cheap hotels and saving up for airline tickets. None of that will be possible in Qatar. A place known for glamour, opulence and wealth is not an appropriate host for the world's game. Many fans have additional cause to be uncomfortable as homosexuality is illegal in Qatar (when asked about this issue FIFA head Blatter stated that homosexuals should refrain from sexual activity if they attend the World Cup) and women have the same constrained role they have in the rest of the Arab world. Not to mention it is 115 degrees in Qatar in July, who knows what effect that will have on the players and fans. Anyone who feels cheated because the two countries selected, Russia and Qatar, are the only two who had billionaire oil barrons in their delegation is right to feel that way.

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