November 25, 2017

FIFA World Cup hosting to Russia and Qatar- How Bizarre?

Sepp Blatter - the wisest man on the planet, who can see possiblities where no one else can. Qatari possibilities that is.

FIFA has awarded the 2018 Football World Cup to Russia, in what was a predictable result, respite late optimism from England.

It is the 2022 World Cup hosting rights though that have sent shockwaves around the footballing world with Qatar being awarded the rights.

New Zealand band Otara Millionaires Club had an international hit a few years ago with the song How Bizarre. That is the only way I can describe this decision.

“We go to new lands,” FIFA President Sepp Blatter triumphantly declared.

Yes new lands. Russia, a pseudo-totalitarian state that mixes fascism with corruption. Chechan terrorists will be licking their lips at the prospect of embarrassing Russia.

I guess President in waiting Vladimir Putin will solve that little problem in advance by granting Chechnya, autonomy to get brownie points with the west.

This will be rapidly followed by a catastrophic event, where unidentified Islamic rebels storm a remote Russian nuclear missile battery then accidently punch in the GPS coordinates for Chechnya instead of Moscow.

How dumb is that? They do the hard part then mess up a little thing like entering numbers into a PC. Anyway the upshot is no more problems from terrorists because they are all radioactive dust.

Lucrative World Cup infrastructure contracts will go to individuals based on the size of the kick-backs rather than their ability to deliver the projects on time. Cost blowouts will be astronomical because of the huge financial resources being syphoned out for bribes at all levels.

Russia will deliver the 2018 World Cup to the world, but it will be similar to South Africa with many projects unfinished and barely getting over the line.

The advantage that Putin has is that the few remaining free press agents in Russia will be silenced long before they can print one negative word about Russia’s tournament preparations.

As for Qatar, all I can say is that the voting committee will probably have enough money to live in Five Star Hotels for the rest of their days.

The awarding of the worlds biggest single sport tournament to a tiny Emirate defies belief. Aside from FIFA having no regard for the fans and countries where football is more of a religion than a sport, there are other reasons I find this difficult to comprehend.

Qatar is smack in the middle of the most volitile region on earth. Who knows what will happen in the next 12 years leading up to the 2022 World Cup. The winds of change are blowing through the Middle East and the ruling elite of many of it’s countries are yesterdays men.

For FIFA to put all their eggs in one tiny basket is a high risk strategy.
Qatar has promised to spend over $50 billion on infrastructure and new stadiums. They have also promised to deal with the 45 degree centigrade summer heat. There are also unconfirmed reports that they have promised to find a cure for aids and send a manned space mission to Jupiter.

The key thing is that promises are one thing but delivering is another. There are so many question marks about the future of tiny states like Qatar where power and wealth are in the hands of a few.

Followers of radical Islam despise these rulers almost as much as countries like America and the United Kingdom. The thing about religion is that it transcends all boundaries. Qatar has no power to stop a determined effort by radicals to destabilise it.

There is no scope for mass uprising in a country like Qatar, but rather selective assasination that lops the head off the ruling elite. A country with huge wealth but limited ability to defend itself or protect its rulers is a tantalising prospect for terrorists wanting to create a domino effect in the Middle East that might eventually lead the the downfall of Saudi Arabia.

You might think my doomsday senario is a bit far fetched but it is entirely plausible given the history of the region and the trends already in motion.

Sepp Blatter has never been about logic or making correct decisions based on the facts. FIFA is more about what Sepp and his cronies think would be best for themselves. The corrupt voting process makes the International Olympic Committee’s antics look tame.

Rather than honour the countries that have helped make football the most popular game on earth, they have chased the promise of riches from fringe hosts who bring a lot more baggage to the table than just infrastructure and logistical problems.

For the 2018 cup, England, Netherlands, Belguim, Spain and Portugal are all football powerhouses that have bided their time for their turn to come. They are all more worthy hosts than Russia but then what Sepp and Co think is all that matters at the end of the day.

Who cares about little things like history, logic and the fans when there is the matter of persoanl power and wealth to be attended to.

For the 2022 World Cup Australia, Japan, Korea and the United States of America are all more worthy hosts than Qatar. But then what do we know.

If only we were as wise as the FIFA executive then we could see the world through their eyes and understand true wisdom. A wisdom that seems as nonsense to ordianary football fans.

“Thank you for believing in change,” said Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. Well to borrow US President Brack Obama’s phrase, is it “change we can believe in”? From where I sit no, but I am happy to be proved wrong.

VOTING RESULTS:

2018 World Cup:

Round 1: England 2 votes, Netherlands/Belgium 4 votes, Spain/Portugal 7 votes and Russia 9 votes (as no absolute majority was reached, the candidate with least amount of votes, England, was eliminated)

Round 2: Netherlands/Belgium 2 votes, Spain/Portugal 7 votes and Russia 13 votes (Russia obtained an absolute majority)

2022 World Cup:

Round 1: Australia 1 vote, Japan 3 votes, Korea Republic 4 votes, Qatar 11 votes, USA 3 votes (Australia eliminated)

Round 2: Japan 2 votes, Korea Republic 5 votes, Qatar 10 votes and USA 5 votes (Japan eliminated)

Round 3: Korea Republic 5 votes, Qatar 11 votes, USA 6 votes (Korea Republic eliminated)

Round 4: Qatar 14 votes and USA 8 votes (Qatar obtained an absolute majority)