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In December 2010, Sepp Blatter and his colleagues awarded the 2022 World Cup to, err, Qatar.

This decision was viewed suspiciously from the out-set, and with good reason.

Qatar are awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Sepp Blatter: Qatar are awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Why Qatar?

An Arabic state with no prior footballing interest of note. The mens side currently sit 111th in the FIFA rankings, comfortably placed in-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 officials celebrate winning the World Cup bid in 2010

Qatar officials celebrate winning the World Cup bid in 2010

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, 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. But if the tournament goes ahead, at least we’ll get a nice tan.

Post written by Asa McCoy
Blog: thatcouldbethegoal, Twitter: @AsaMcCoy

Image Credits
Sepp Blatter: Qatar are awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup © Associated Press
Qatar officials celebrate winning the World Cup bid in 2010 © FIFA

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