Sorry Herr Blatter, but Qatar aren’t ready for the biggest show on earth

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Updated: August 15, 2013
Sepp Blatter FIFA

Sepp Blatter FIFA

In December 2010, Sepp Blatter and his colleagues at FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. It was a decision that was viewed suspiciously from the out-set, and with good reason. The oil rich Gulf  state has no prior footballing interest of note, and has a mens side that currently occupy a lowly 111th spot in the world rankings – sandwiched between Kuwait and North Korea.

So far this year, Qatar have earned a draw with Azerbaijan, been beaten by Bahrain and Iran, and been drubbed 5-1 by the mighty Uzbekistan. Ok, so your footballing ability doesn’t necessarily win, or indeed lose you the right to host the World Cup. In the past, the USA, South Africa, Japan, and South Korea have all hosted the tournament without being a major force. So let’s look at other reasons why Qatar is seen as a strange choice.

The Qatari media is considered ‘not free’, meaning the ‘freedom of speech’ tag we hold in such high regard in Britain, wouldn’t apply. The British press could be arrested if they were to criticise the Emir in Qatar. Imagine a journalist from The Times being arrested if they questioned David Cameron or the Queen.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. At a time where FIFA say they are working to ensure that all discrimination is eradicated from the game, they hand the World Cup to a state where you can receive a 3 year prison sentence for being gay. There are people within the game calling for more gay footballers to come out, but why would they? If the governing body of world football is siding with a homophobic state, then no gay footballer is going to feel comfortable, especially if they feel they have a chance to be in Qatar in 2022.

Qatar is based in the Middle East, meaning the weather can be harsh in the summer time. In June and July, the Qatari mercury usually exceeds 40°C, meaning the traditional summer tournament has been dubbed ‘impossible’, even with air-conditioned stadia. Surely Mr Blatter must have known about these complications prior to handing over the rights.

It has been said that a winter tournament is the only option. This would cause wide-spread disruption to all domestic leagues, especially in Europe. The Champions League, Europa League, Champions League, European Championship Qualifiers would all have to be altered to fit the World Cup schedule. Is it really worth the five years of disruption to host a World Cup in the middle east? I don’t think so.

So, what are the alternatives?

I can see that, after the success of the African World Cup, FIFA are trying to expand football as far as they can. But they are doing far too much, too soon. I would personally deem the Qatari World Cup not fit for purpose, and would instead hand the 2022 World Cup to the USA, a country where football is really on the rise. Yes, they had the tournament in 1994, but giving it again would show how far the nation, in footballing terms, has come.

Despite the tournament being nine years away, Qatar isn’t ready for the World Cup. The sooner FIFA correct their decision, the better. However, even if the tournament does goes ahead, at least we’ll get a nice tan.

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What do you think? Should Qatar hold the World Cup? Are you happy to see it moved to the Winter months? Comment below and get involved!



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