December 3, 2010

Qatar? What is FIFA thinking?

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

With the announcement of Qatar being named the host of the 2022 World Cup, the general consensus has been: Are you serious? And, I have to say, I completely agree. FIFA blew this decision and they blew it bad. While it might look good to give the tournament to an Arab nation for the first time, this could turn into an unmitigated disaster.
First and foremost, have you seen what the weather can be like there? Let’s put it this way: As of 10 a.m. EST, the temperature in Doha is 20 degrees Celius. And that’s in the middle of the night. In December.  In June and July, when the tournament is played, daytime highs in the desert nation can reach more than 40C.
Qatar has touted high-tech, brand new, air-conditioned stadia, but how feasible are they? Can stadiums without roofs really have systems that can lower temps to a reasonable degree? Even if they can, what’s going to happen when people are walking to and from the games? Stepping out into the streets might be enough to make someone spontaneously combust.
And, sure, the stadiums will have this nice air-conditioning, but what about the 32 different training grounds that teams will need? Can they build that many and a reasonable cost?
Also, Qatar is roughly the size of the state of Connecticut. Will it be able to host the thousands of fans from around the world that will come to see the games?
Fast fact: Qatar doesn’t have public transportation as of yet.
Finally, the bid committee pitched this event as an opportunity to “bring the Arab nations together.” Really, since when has playing a highly competitive sport ever brought two groups of people together? Hasn’t there been at least one war that started over a game?
Seriously, both the U.S.A. and Australia were far superior alternatives to Qatar. It’s too bad that FIFA was more interested in making headlines for the wrong reasons.

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