Friday, December 03, 2010

Five reasons why Qatar should have lost World Cup bid

The Fifa World Cup vote was, of course, a travesty. Not so much that England did not win the rights to stage the 2018 tournament (although if Jack Warner, the Fifa vice-president, thinks he is getting an invite to Prince William's wedding now he is much mistaken), but that Qatar will host the World Cup in 2022. Here are five reasons why:

1) Qatar has never qualified for a World Cup before and probably will not qualify for the tournaments in 2014 and 2018 but will get to compete four years later as hosts even if they don't improve on their present world ranking of 113, which is lower than North Korea, who were embarrassingly bad at this year's World Cup, and even lower than Wales.

When South Africa were given the rights for the 2010 World Cup, they were No 41 in the world, only just outside the 32 that ideally should qualify. South Africa and the USA were 22nd in the world when they hosted the 2002 and 1994 World Cups. Qatar are nowhere near qualifying. There are 15 Asian nations ranked higher; it is simply unfair that Qatar can buy a place at the top table and deny one of those above them a spot.

2) Temperatures will be pushing 50C in the Gulf state at that time of year. But their air-conditioned stadiums, to be built like most baubles in the Middle East by virtual slave labour, will look magnificent and isn't expensive spangly arenas what the World Cup is all about, even if they get dismantled straight after the final?

3) They have a poor human rights record. Not that that stopped China hosting the Olympics. And anyway, do homosexuals, women and Jews, all of whom are persecuted in Qatar, really watch football?

4) The Fifa technical report on Qatar's suitability was, like Russia's for 2018, shockingly bad. They were able to overcome that by proming to spend $4 billion on the tournament. Some might suggest that Fifa should be pressing for that money to be spent on developing football in Asia rather than on building new air-conditioned dismantleable stadiums in a desert. Qatar should have proved its commitment to football, rather than wealth-creation, before being given the rights.

5) It is one of the smallest countries in the world. In terms of area, it comes in below Vanuatu and the Falkland Islands and is only five places higher than Cyprus. It is about 165,000 sq km smaller than Uruguay, the previous smallest World Cup host. It is a third the size of Belgium, who put in a joint bid with the Netherlands for the 2018 World Cup because they thought it would be silly to go it alone. I'm all in favour of the little guy getting a chance and for the World Cup to go to new countries, but this is simply a case of a country buying - some say bribing - its golden ticket and it stinks.

1 comment:

Peter McGuinness said...

And the Aussie govt just wasted 46 million tax payer dollars on a bid that was never going to succeed, for a game that few people here give a toss about. Bravo! Seriously, you Poms were a bit unlucky hey?