A FIFA taskforce today recommended that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should take place in November and December, unlike every other World Cup which is held in the summer. This is not a new possibility, but this morning’s news tells us that FIFA seem to have made their minds up.
The statement released by football’s governing body read “the only remaining effective option is the November/December window.”
Oh no FIFA, oh no it is not. Everything about this tournament is fundamentally wrong, in a football sense, and most importantly, in a human sense.
1) The timing of the tournament:
Summer temperatures in Qatar reach, and exceed, the 40 degree Centigrade mark and can go up to around 155 Fahrenheit, which for anyone who knows the slightest thing about weather will understand that that would be nothing short of torture to play football in, never mind the highest level of football with the added pressure all that brings.
Put it in winter then! No, because that means every single one of Europe’s domestic leagues will be interrupted. (Europe take up 12 of the 32 teams in World Cups, more than any other continent).
2) Qatar Law:
Qatar’s attitudes towards homosexuality are…queer? Steady, don’t want to annoy them, do we?
Being gay in Qatar is an arrestable offence, with both male and female homosexuals being sentenced for up to five years in jail, with this being applicable to non-Qatari residents too.
Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s head honcho, responded to this by suggesting “I’d say they [gay fans] should refrain from any sexual activities.” Nice bloke.
Not quite so much Qatar being held in winter of 2022, but winter of the stone ages.
3) Working conditions:
Amnesty International published a 2013 report into the working conditions of Qatar. Said report suggested that workers were “being treated like cattle” in the run up to the tournament, with thousands enduring abuse when building stadiums etc.
The Guardian newspaper also did some analysis and calculated that around 4000 people would have died due to work related incidents by the time the World Cup is under way. The beautiful game.
FIFA investigated Qatar to improve working conditions. No action has been taken as yet.
4) The bidding process:
All of this makes you wonder why FIFA would give Qatar the World Cup. I’ll tell you why.
In 2011, The Sunday Times reported that committee members Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma were paid $1.5 million in exchange for their votes in favour of Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.
FIFA requested evidence of this, it was provided to them, and Blatter rejected it. Odd.
Jack Warner, then vice president of FIFA, meanwhile leaked an email from FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke that suggested Qatar had “bought” the rights to host the 2022 World Cup.
German FA President Theo Zwanziger ordered FIFA to have another look at the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar, to which Blatter replied Spanish and Qatari bid teams did try to buy votes, but were unsuccessful.
This whole sorry mess has brought FIFA, and the sport, into more disrepute than ever before. 500 words from me can perhaps be best summed up by comedian David Schneider’s image.