On one end of the spectrum? FIFA, Sepp Blatter and the chosen hosts of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar. On the other end? Almost everyone else, from the losing bidders, the top European leagues, Fox Spots and many many more, trying to make sure that the World Cup takes place in the summer, as it should, and preferably in a different country.
From the moment FIFA announced Qatar as the hosts of the 2022 World Cup problems began. Allegation of bribery and corruption, something that goes almost naturally with every decision FIFA makes, were soon to be implied. Why announce the hosts so many years in advance? Why Qatar, who is a country that might be too small to host such an event, without the proper infrastructure, and with a long list of human rights violations?
Former US attorney for New York, Michael Garcia, is still investigating whether there was any corruption in the 2022 process, but without any findings yet. The bigger problems, as always, have to do with money.
FIFA want to move the tournament to the winter, but it might not be so simple. Qatari temperatures during the Northern Hemisphere summer and the dates of the tournament, June or July, easily pass the 40 degrees Celsius mark, making it impossible for players and fans to enjoy the tournament. Promises of building the most modern stadiums imaginable aren’t helping Qatar, and now it seems that moving to Winter time is the preferred option.
But Blatter always runs his mouth without thinking. The contract and licenses are all referring to a summer tournament to be held in June or July. There’s no ‘in principle’ or other way around it. The bids by Australia, the United States and others who were rejected were for the summer, and if the tournament is moved a major lawsuit will be coming FIFA’s way.
And that’s not the worst legal process they might be facing. Fox Sports purchased the rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup for £630 billion, but that was for summer tournaments. Considering that a January or February world cup is impossible because it’ll be going against the Winter Olympics and FIFA won’t go head to head with the IOC, somewhere between late October to mid December sounds about right.
But no one in the United States would want to go against the NFL or College Football, so a lawsuit might be heading FIFA’s way from another direction if an announcement to move the tournament is made. And there are the league implications – scheduling, contracts and there are also other tournaments to consider: Confederations Cup, UEFA tournaments including the Champions League not to mention the whole transfer system being disrupted.
There’s time to survey and learn the effects of what a change like this could make, but an uneducated guess at the moment points to the fact that it’s going to cost too much money and make too much trouble for everyone to be worth it.
Sure – there’s more to the insistence that Qatar won’t host the World Cup than simply the ‘good of football.’ It has to do with the way Arabs and Muslims are viewed by some, and racism is definitely a part of the opposition, even if it is masked well. But Qatar is a wrong choice because it’s feasibly close to impossible to have a decent World Cup there in terms of comfort for fans, not to mention the quality of play. As much as Blatter would love to defend his choices and decisions, the World Cup needs to stay as a summer tournament, and probably be moved to somewhere else. Hosting the World Cup isn’t for everyone.