Qatar

Everything about the 2022 Qatar World Cup is a complete and utter disgrace

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.

Not the moment of truth, the moment of lies: Qatar announced as 2022 hosts.

Not the moment of truth, the moment of lies: Qatar announced as 2022 hosts

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.

DS

Change needed for England? Again?

Following what looks to be England’s latest failing at a major tournament, there are yet again calls for major overhaul.

After the 2010 World Cup in South Africa where England crashed out in the last 16 with a 4-1 hammering by rivals Germany, the Three Lions were encouraged to base their style on the tiki-taka of Spain who went on to win the coveted trophy.

St George’s Park was built with this philosophy grained into it and the effects have been predicted to come to fruition for the Qatar World Cup in 2022.

The problem now however is that tiki-taka looks tiki-toast after Spain themselves were dumped out the group stages this summer by The Netherlands and Chile.

To Roy Hodgson’s credit, England did play the positive attacking football in their opener against Italy and were arguably the better side but Uruguay was a different story as static, nervous England seemed to be back as the pressure looked to have got to them.

England need to create their own identity, possibly starting with a new Captain.

Steven Gerrard has come into particular light as the 34-year-old has probably waved goodbye to the World Cup due to his age and it did not end on a high, his header setting up Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez’s winner to all but send England home.

Liverpool’s iconic hero has been a loyal servant to his country with some fantastic highs including scoring the equalizer in England’s famous 1-5 win over Germany in 2001, scoring a brilliant goal against Trinidad and Tobago at World Cup 2006 and of course his crucial World Cup qualifying goals against the likes of Croatia for 2010 and Poland for 2014.

Along with this though, he has had his lows including a dodgy back-pass at Euro 2004 against France which led to Thierry Henry being fouled for Zinedine Zidane’s winning penalty as well as the Uruguay gaffe.

If Gerrard is replaced, either by choice through International retirement, or by force as Hodgson continues to build for the future, who could replace him?

Joe Hart: The England goalkeeper would be a popular choice among fans as he is one of few England players who has a safe spot in Hodgson’s starting eleven.

Two time Premiership winner with Manchester City, Hart, has established himself as England’s number one after Robert Green’s high profile error against the United States at the last World Cup and then number two David James has since retired.

Hart is a known leader on the pitch, often seen barking instructions from his penalty box and is refreshingly honest in interviews, something that adheres to England supporters as he is one of very few players who embodies himself among fans as “one of them”.

It is a myth that England players do not care about their national side as much as the fans but Hart is a rare example of someone who truly proves this. Perfect Captain material.

Wearing his Hart on his shoulder: England's number one.

Wearing his Hart on his sleeve: England’s number one.

Gary Cahill: John Terry’s partner in the heart of Chelsea’s defense is starting to emerge from the former England Captain’s shadow.

Since joining Stamford Bridge from Bolton in 2012, Cahill has blossomed working with Terry and has picked up plenty more England caps to boot as he ‘s built up a solid partnership with Everton’s Phil Jagielka.

Along with this, Cahill has similar personality traits to his colleague such as on-pitch leadership and an equally similar playing style. The 28-year-old is often seen putting his body on the line for his team much like Terry (“Superman” dive vs Slovenia esque) in true English lion-heart style, something the Three Lions have missed since Terry’s acrimonious departure from the national fold.

Another positive of Cahill’s, he also does not come with the baggage of John Terry with his personal life stories of affairs and racist allegations.

New kid on the block: Cahill dives in-front of a shot.

New kid on the block: Cahill dives in-front of a shot.

Wayne Rooney: Expected to be the bookies and media favourite to replace Gerrard. The England poster boy is undoubtedly the star man.

94 caps and 40 goals would be an impressive return by anyone’s standard but the main criticism of “Wazza” is that he does not turn up on the big stage.

The Manchester United forward, 28, has only scored six goals in major tournaments (four at Euro 2004 where he was just 18, one at Euro 2012 which was a header from two yards against Ukraine, and his leveler against Uruguay) – his first World Cup goal at the third attempt.

Criticism of his attitude would also be a harm to him, frequent contract issues with his club where he seems to be constantly demanding more money does not portray him in a good light.

Many also believe that we have never seen what Rooney is truly capable of, citing that if he had more drive and determination he could have been one of the best players in the world, possibly even ever.

Rooney’s rant into a camera following a 0-0 draw with Algeria at the last World Cup will also live long in the memory of many an England supporter. “Nice to see your home fans boo you, that’s what loyal support is”, is not a sentence that endears you to fans well.

Despite all this though, Rooney is still seen as the man to lead England. Why? Because he is England’s best player and, after all, isn’t that what the Captain should be?

Wayne's World: England's next captain?

Wayne’s World: England’s next captain?