All Those Who Condemn the World Cup 2022 in Qatar
FIFA’s December decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was controversial to say the least for other countries who were bidding, mainly England, the rest of Europe and some figures from the United States. From corruption allegations linked to Qatar being picked, weather issues as the WC is supposed to be held in June-July which is summer for Qatar, and the lack of football pedigree of Qatar. It all boils down to the insistence of many that football should stay within the confines of its elite, in effect creating a geo-political ethnocentric view of how football should expand. Being a football convert from WC South Africa those arguments demean what football has meant to so many. Hence, does it follow that because of these setbacks that can be averted in 11 years the Middle East has less of a right to host a WC? The name of the tournament itself denotes internationalism for football.
Football for all
Holding the WC in Qatar would entail a tremendous leap for football as a whole, expanding in an often misunderstood region of Asia where no WC has ever been held. The allure of a WC is not only quality stadiums but expanding football as tenets for cultural identity. I must reiterate football is created through the grassroots and how it is appreciated as a mass oriented sport, contrary to having quality stadiums, hordes of hooligans, an income generator and home to successful clubs. The 2010 WC is the first in Africa, 2018 will have it for the first time in the eastern European area; FIFA and Blatter are on a mission to bring football to the world not to where it has already gone. It can even be argued that England’s success in domestic football is partly due to its previous hosting of the tournament which inevitably draws legions of people to stadiums.
Among the selling points of holding the WC in Qatar would be the stadiums that would somehow be air-conditioned reducing the temperature by 20 degrees or more. Mostly it was that after the tournament Qatar promised to take parts of the stadiums apart to donate to poorer countries who lack facilities, Philippines? Besides that, is weather really the issue? What will having a WC in England or USA do for the international football community besides translate itself into a profit?
”I’m so bored with the USA” – The Clash
USA’s Landon Donovan jokingly tweeted “I have an idea … we play Qatar in a friendly (they can even host it), and the winner gets to host the 2022 WC … wait, do they even have a team?” The ignorance comes from a man who doesn’t really have a right to boast about American football having never gone past the round of 16 and having never won anything in an international competition. Who the hell is Donovan to talk about football pedigree? The USA had their chance in 1994 when they hosted, they developed a domestic league as a result, now it seems, unsurprisingly that 2022 is a chance to bring more money into their imperialist industries; as the WC generates the majority of all income for football in general. As of now Qatar have their own national team and league, what more in 11 years?
The English express similar sentiments at just about every sport segment of BBC, every English football blog etc; Blatter was right to call them sore losers. He also recently announced that the tournament could be held in the winter season, though disrupting the schedules of many football leagues, isn’t it worth taking football someplace new and more importantly, someplace relevant? Racism and geo-centrism in European football stem from the same kind of intolerant attitude that put their leagues on a pedestal.
Many also accuse FIFA of corruption in the bid for 2022 hosting duties, whoateallthepies.tv said “we’re now all just waiting for Sepp Blatter to shuffle off. Then maybe FIFA can at last become the transparent, honourable organisation football needs it to be.” With absolutely no evidence it’s hard to imagine especially coming from the Philippines where top FIFA officials were instrumental in ousting the very corrupt former Philippine Football Federation President Jose Mari Martinez. Moreover, with or without the corruption allegations Qatar would still have been a good choice for the world cup given its significance for the progress of world football. There may be some things on the ground that contributed to corruption speculation but when you take a look at the big picture it wouldn’t have made the choice for Qatar any less suitable.
Right now, the Asian Cup is going on in Qatar, having hosted the 2006 Asian games among others they proved they can do justice to such events.