Why the World Cup is Going to Qatar
In the dark corridors of the FIFA headquarters the men who wield the power are politicians bagmen and masters of the finer arts of persuasion. FIFA executive committee members – the twenty four men who decide where the next billion dollar World Cup will be held – are some of the most powerful men in football and all are controlled by the man in the hot seat Sepp Blatter.
Blatter arranged the Germany World Cup in 2006 and the South African World Cup in 2010. Whilst nobody denies that Africa deserved a World Cup and what a World Cup it was the reason it was there was due to promises made by Blatter to remain in office as FIFA president. In exchange for African votes the continent was promised a World Cup and Blatter duly delivered – at the second time of asking.
This time around when the bids are decided upon for 2018 and 2022 Blatter needs to appease the Asian delegates. In June 2011 Blatter will be looking to win another term in office as if the previous 12 years of bungling, bribes and corruption weren’t enough. He has already persuaded Mohamed Bin Hammam from standing against him in return for support for Qatar’s bid for 2022.
There are few fans who would agree that Qatar is truly deserving of a World Cup and whether a World Cup would change the attitude to football within that country. The bid itself is fairly impressive and the offer to build stadiums in other countries is remarkably forward thinking – guaranteeing votes from the chosen countries. The lack of travelling between games is a plus for fans and FIFA delegates alike but the bid is ultimately flawed.
All their grand designs and planned stadiums should count for nothing if FIFA want a World Cup for the fans. Qatar is a small country which is not designed to accommodate millions of soccer fans intent on enjoying themselves for the month of the tournament. A World Cup is not limited to the stadiums, a World Cup embraces the entire country and Qatar is just too small to hold a World Cup and the teeming throngs of fans that will want to go. In a country with a 77% Muslim population and with bars and clubs limited to expensive hotels this will have no impact on the high and mighty at FIFA but for normal fans it will degrade the entire World Cup experience.
The actual bid very rarely matters when it comes to deciding the destination of a World Cup but comments like these from Mohamed Bin Hammam will certainly make a difference:
“Let me be very clear, I will not run for the next FIFA election. I will be backing Sepp Blatter to remain in office for a new mandate.”
This comment came in August just months after he had stated:
“I genuinely believe eight years is enough for every president to focus on football. After that, he’s looking after everything else other than football.”
Bin Hammam will no doubt have been pleased with Herr Blatter’s own backing of the Qatari World Cup bid which you will not be surprised to hear came in between these statements and appear to have changed Bin Hammam’s mind:
“The Arab world deserves the World Cup and Qatar has a good chance to become the first country from the region to host it,” Blatter said. “I’m a regular visitor to Qatar and every time I land here I am impressed by all the development.”
With Sepp Blatter looking for one more payday as FIFA President massively in need of help from the Asian voting bloc we can expect to see the 2022 World Cup heading to Asia whether Australia or Qatar and it’s looking like tough luck to the United States and their fantastic bid.