Youve probably all heard the fraca about the world cup hosts. Now Russia getting the 2018 world cup I can understand, its the largest country in Europe, strong footballing tradition, lots of mafia kickback sorry! I meant lots of good bars and caviar ..except the illegal stuff which no member of FIFA would ever dream of touching!
But Qatar in 2022! WTF! They’re hardly big enough a country to host a decent five-a-side competition let alone a world cup! Ireland, Scotland & Wales joint bid for the Euro champs was turned down sometime ago because of two reason, firstly the GAA being arsy about Croke Park and secondly that were just too small to host a major competition like that so a country with 1/10 the population (Qatar) is now eligible to host an even bigger competition? Eh??? The world cup fans will outnumber the locals 3:1 (there are apparently a grand total of just 50,000 hotel rooms in the country, a typical world cup would attract 20 times that number of visitors). Where are they going to build the stadia? Security…they have the yanks (who very large military presences in the kingdom), course they tend to bomb they’re own allies! There’s the heat, 45’C in July seems a tad hot for a world cup game, thought knowing the rulers of these gulf kingdoms they’ll probably play all games indoors and import snow! Theres the issue of drinking (which is illegal, whos going to tell the English fans!) and women (whose going to tell the Dutch girls they need to go around in a Hijab rather than a Bikini in 45C heat!)What will they do afterwards with all these massive stadia (and hotels!) in the middle of the desert?
I would question indeed how much the local people would also gain from hosting these games. Sure the rulers will get some international browning points okay, but are the locals that into football to want to take a day off work and fork out all the cash it will cost them to go to a few matches? Like the New Dehli Commonwealth games I suspect well be seeing a lot of empty seats in those stadiums. If you go along with the mantra oh but weve never had a World Cup in the Middle East, fair enough, why did FIFA let the US bid for it then if they were always going to say no? Why not make it mutually exclusive to Middle east states? And the two mid-east states with a strong footballing tradition are .Iran & Egypt!
Of course, the Qatari’s & the Russians do have three things…oil, money a plenty, and levels of corruption that would make Sgt Bilko blush. In the wake of these corruption allegations by the Beeb, it seems to me that FIFA were sending out a very strong message here by giving England just two votes (one from an English guy the other one of the delegates accused of corruption by the Beeb!) and the games to Qatar/Russia. Short of Putin and the Emir going up to Blatter as he announced the result, both tucking a wad of cash into his top pocket, patting him on the cheek and saying buy yourself something nice I dont think we could have got a clearer signal as to FIFAs attitude towards corruption.