Thursday, December 2, 2010

You Have Got to be Kidding Me!

I wish this were the US bid's logo, but clearly the Qatari's
must have put more money in Sepp Blatter's bank account.
As you might have guessed from the title of this post, I'm indignant (at best) at the selections of both Russia for WC2018 and Qatar for WC2022.  Ravi Ubha over at ESPN calls the two picks bizarre, and I couldn't agree more.  The selection of Russia and Qatar smacks of the charges of corruption, bribery and backroom politics that have dogged FIFA for years.  Before the selection, there were rumors that the Portugal/Spain WC2018 bid and the Qatar bid were in collusion regarding votes.  BBC television program, Panorama, reported that three top FIFA officials are reported to have taken bribes, totaling nearly $100 million, in the 1990s.  Why would we think that something like this didn't happen this time?

For the 2018 selection it could be argued that the Russian bid, which was quite good - with all the oligarchs' cash, a strong domestic league, decent national team, was the strongest.  Still, Russia would have to build or finish construction on all but one of the proposed stadiums.  England's proposal, by comparison , included just 3 unbuilt stadiums, and was centered on the expansion of current stadiums.  While, I believe the 2018 World Cup should have gone to England, the Russian selection was certainly competitive.

Russia received the 2018 World Cup, beating my favorite - England.
The same cannot be argued for the Qatari bid (Sorry no link, because the Qatar bid site is down.  Vengeance by some crazed US soccer techie? We may never know).  With 7 of the proposed 12 stadiums needing to be built and all but 1 of the remaining 4 needing significant expansion, 100+ degree temperatures during the summer, a small population, a barely competitive domestic league, and a national team with a FIFA ranking in the 100s, Qatar just doesn't seem like a logically place for the World Cup. Unless you are thinking about all the oil/natural gas cash the Qataris possess.

The 1994 World Cup was and remains the most successful World Cup ever held.  It spurred support for the creation of a national soccer league in the United States and drew some of the largest crowds to attend soccer matches (since stadiums became all-seaters).  There is no reason to believe that the proposed 2022 World Cup in the U.S. would have been any less successful.  If the U.S. had been given WC2022 the growing interest in soccer, demonstrated at this year's World Cup, would have continued to mount.  Doesn't FIFA want to tap the most lucrative market in the world, and turn the US into a soccer mad nation?  Wouldn't turning a country where soccer was, at best tolerated into a footballing nation be as great a legacy as putting a World Cup in the Middle East? Clearly, money in pockets now was more important than more money in pockets later.

For more on the process, I direct you to Soccer by Ives, a fantastic site run by Ives Galarcep, a soccer writer for Fox Soccer.  He provides information on the vote breakdown and more for the World Cup selection process.  His site is also a wealth of  information on U.S. and world soccer.


  1. You'r just as rest of the Americans who generate hate toward themselves. Did you check Qatar biding videos? Do you know more than 30 million people live in the middle east, which is as size of Texas? Do you know that every single country who surrounds Qatar, soccer is their 1st sport? Did you know Dubai, that people wish to come to, was built in less than 10 years?
    Probably NOT!

    Just give Qatar 10 years and you'll see miracles happen!

    Yes we have the oil and gas.. and thanks to Allah for his blessings!

    Instead of speaking words out of thin air, go read and be educated about other people and nations, then make your decisions!

  2. First, I would like to thank you for reading my blog.

    Second, I will respond to your comments bit by bit. 1) I did not generate hate toward anyone with my post, and if I did it was more toward FIFA officials than anyone else. 2) You assume that I know nothing about Qatar, which is in fact completely incorrect. I was a history major in college, and am well versed in both the history and current events of the Middle East in general and Qatar specifically. So while you claim that I am speaking from a place of ignorance, I would argue that you are doing the same. 3) I am well aware that for many of the countries in the Middle East soccer is the first sport, however, you cannot argue that the US would be able to provide and sell out venues that are twice as large as those provided by Qatar. Also, with the multicultural make-up of the US, nearly every team would have supporters at their games. In many games in the US, foreign teams have nearly as much (if not more) support than the US team. 4) Mentioning that Dubai was built in 10 years isn't a good argument as Dubai is not in Qatar, it is in the UAE. Also, the UAE has experienced many financial troubles (not unlike some of the problems the US has been facing) due to the extreme building boom that created Dubai.

    While I believe that Qatar has the resources available to make something like this happen, I just don't believe they presented the strongest bid. You claim that I am speaking words out of thin air, but I would argue that I am not. I have thoroughly investigated all of the bids, and while I wrote my post quickly it was not in haste. Blame my patriotism or whatever you want for my support of the US bid, but there is no questioning that it would have provided the most exposure/money for the game of soccer and for FIFA.

    Ahmed, I will leave you with this - rather than thinking that I am "as the rest of the Americans who generate hate", I would suggest you learn more about us before you speak. Just as I try not to perpetuate stereotypes, nor write anything hateful, I would suggest you do the same.

  3. I think a Middle Eastern WC is in order, but I have to question what made Qatar a better option than say Egypt, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia of past bids? The fact that Qatar's GDP is the highest in the world? On pure proposals I think the US sans Clinton and Freeman issues was better in most ways than that of Qatar's and yes I actually saw both. Anyway I am sure whatever thoughts I have will be painted as sour grapes because I am an American that only brings hate on himself, and has no understanding of the history of the area ( all sarcasm implied)

    Since the implication of the comments made is that the WC in Qatar is more a WC for the 30 million people of the middle east; my sincere hope is that the exposure to the rest of the world, in particular exposure to European fans at such a peaceful event opens up the culture of the middle east (perhaps allowing all women to go to school, looking at you Saudis) Please notice I am in no way singling out Qatar, as it has one of the most open societies in the Middle East and yet there is the caveat of "in the Middle East".