July 25, 2013

Move the World Cup from Qatar, not from summer

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

I couldn’t help but read a recent story on SI.com about a FIFA member saying that awarding the 2022 World Cup was a “blatant mistake,” and shake my head in vociferous approval.

This comes on the heels of a report last week that FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants to move the Qatar Cup to the winter of that year.

This has become one of the most infuriating sagas in soccer’s recent memory – a sign of just how corrupt FIFA is.

It’s as if soccer’s governing body didn’t even visit the country during the months that the games will be played. How could they not realize that temperatures approach 50C during summer months – something that would make any physical activity, let alone world-class soccer, impossible to pull do.

It was obvious that FIFA saw money signs when picking Qatar and that this is the only reason that this farce was hoist upon us. After all, the budget to build stadiums in the tiny Arabic country is a reported $138 billion. Yes, you read that right. It is roughly 450% the amount that is being spent in Brazil, which is currently the most-expensive Cup in history.

Getting back to Blatter’s idea of moving the World Cup to winter, I don’t think he realizes how much it would actually damage his game rather than grow it.

I stated last week my feelings about the NHL taking over two weeks off in the middle of its season and how it hurts the league. Well imagine that factored across every league in Europe and encompassing more than a month. It would spell disaster for many leagues.

And it’s not like you can simply play on without the players away on international duty. That would penalize teams like Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester United for having the best players in the world. Who would play forward for United with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Chicarito away? It would end up costing teams more money to find depth from countries that didn’t make it or guys that are decent enough, but not international standard.

Well, the best part about these types of stories coming out now is that there is still time to rectify the problem. And how would you do that? It’s simple: Move the World Cup out of Qatar.

There’s a reason why you don’t hold summer competitions in a desert nation. And, as even Blatter has said, you can cool down the stadiums, but you can’t cool down the entire country.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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