Wednesday, December 22, 2010

End of Year : Vol. 1 - FIFA

I'm back. This will begin a series of end of year posts.

Today, I want to talk about FIFA. FIFA has been one of the big stories in the ending this year. I think it has become even more clear that FIFA is one of the most corrupt organizations on the planet. The English media made light of the scandalous actions of many of the FIFA executive committee members over the past two decades.

First, I want to discuss the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World cups to Russia and Qatar respectively. At first, I thought Russia was an awful choice. I wanted England because I knew that I would probably be able to go, and hopefully I'd already be living there and since I missed my chance when the Cup was held in the US in 1994 I really want the chance to go again. After some thought, I think Russia is a brilliant choice. I think the Russian FA will need to work diligently to fight racism and the government will have to work to make it a more hospitable locale for visiting fans, but it certainly can work. But with that said, I think the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar is absolutely ridiculous.

The 2022 bid was one that many people, including myself, was a lock to be either the US or Australia. I think there are so many problems with the bid and the actual possibility of running this event there. As for the bid, it seems that it was bought. I can't prove that, but there seemed to be a lot of funny business happening. The most damning point about the bid was that Qatar was the only country to get a negative technical bid. Even with 12 years to work on it, it is crazy to think that everything wrong in the technical bid could be addressed.

As for the post bid silliness, they want to hold the cup in January. Where was that in the bid book? I understand why, but we should have been made aware of that beforehand. I thought they were going to have air conditioned stadiums. Realistically, I could write all day about what is wrong with the Cup being awarded to Qatar now. Maybe in a few years time, I would change my tune, but now, no. Let me just quickly run through my issues with this(or at least the problems I can think of now). Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. Not a problem for me, but this is a tournament which is supposed to be inclusive. Israel would have to be given special permission to get into the country if they qualify. And believe me. I hope like hell that they do. Alcohol is not allowed in Qatar, and they are going to have to make special amendments to the law to allow it during the World Cup. Women are still second class citizens in the Muslim world. Enough said there. The temperature is 50 degrees centigrade in the summer. This is dangerous not only to the players, but to fans traveling between games to and from their hotels and now they want to move a summer tournament to the winter. Doesn't tradition mean anything? The Cup would be held essentially in one city. Now they want to allow other countries to host some games. Where was that in the bid book? And how can we be sure that neighboring countries would be accepting of the changes that need to be made to run this in their country? The whole modular stadiums thing. It just screams safety hazard to me. I mean, I love and own Ikea furniture, but it is not the most sturdy stuff ever. I would hate to see 60,000 people piled on the contents of an Ikea. Doha has only like one stadium. It just seems silly. There's more, but I'm tired of complaining about this already.

Jack Warner. Seriously, he is one of the most corrupt and abhorrent human beings on the face of the planet. He is a liar, a cheat, and simply a bad person. He was caught selling world cup tickets. I mean, how ridiculous is that? My big worry is that he could get the FIFA presidency if Blatter is ousted. With the people who are in Warner's pockets, as well as those who don't dare oppose him now, imagine him with more power. He could ruin the game with his sin bins or something.

Blatter. I know you want to work on your legacy, but at least be honest about it then. You essentially let several countries(US, England, Spain, Korea, Japan, etc.) was millions of dollars preparing their bids which they had absolutely no chance of winning. You should be ashamed. With the economy in the state it is in everywhere, especially in Spain right now, this was just wrong to give false hope and waste finances. Hopefully we will see the back of you in six months.

Finally, I honestly believe we will see the back of Blatter soon in one way or another. I think that if Blatter remains in May, you will likely see a breakup of FIFA. This is going to be not only through the media and the Football associations, but through governmental action. The blase nature of FIFA which basically believes it is above the law will not stand much longer. FIFA has stepped in to block governments and hold back the game in parts of the world where the government should be at the forefront. This will not last much longer. I'll put my money on that.

More to come over the next couple of days. And with some luck, we'll see the first musings of our newest writer if I can coax him up to the keyboard.

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