Monday, December 6, 2010

2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups; A piece of my mind.

Money talks, especially if it is a petro dollar, and I know. The Russians and Qatari nations will host good FIFA World Cups without much doubt, but the Russian political mysteriousness is a concern, as much as the Muslim extremists are to the Qatari bid. New frontier theory and other conspiracies might have given them an upper hand, but then, the justification of a less likely money maker winning over the best financial prospect boggles the mind, given that the 2010 South Africa World Cup has been shrouded by the revenue issues and 'empty' stadia that were full.

Qatar will do a different world cup and issues of terrorism need to be addressed in time. This Arabic and Muslim nation has never won any major tournament or are a powerhouse by any means. They have a passion for sport, proven by the Aspire Sports Academy. This well-funded project is true express of the necessary passion that the world needs to see. More so, the tradition and culture of the game has been taken away from the main stream of Africa and the Middle East and taken to Europe and the Americas.

Given that Africa hosted a record breaking FIFA World  Cup, Qatar should host it also and successfully. You need to look at the state of the art stadia they intend to build to comprehend what petro dollars can do. Frankly, the United Arab Emirates would have been a fancier candidate, given Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the World capital cities.

They must, however, shift a stance of women attending the football matches. It is standard to see a sea of white robes of Rabbis and Sheiks, without any blemish of black, a traditional women attire. This must change. Women like the sport and deserve to be allowed to watch the world's best players strutting their stuff on the turf. I would prefer to watch muscular figures in the presence of the fairer gender indeed.

England took everything for granted in their bid, given the Barclays Premier League is arguably the best globally attracting large live and TV audiences locally and abroad, and the passion of the game. Their major downfall was their 'holier than thou' attitude. Very soft and superfluous rewards for votes looked very modest and amateurish. They should have known someone would walk away with an oil well somewhere and they thought they had the bull with the horns. Guess who got gourded.

Their dislike of a vuvuzela did not help. You curse the vuvuzela you are doomed. Football is not a tennis match sport it is in England anymore. Not that the ear damaging noise is good, but there must be transformation to the singing and clapping of hands during the matches. Anyway, they had done some good homework in getting their 2022 bid off the way so they could fight against weaker European nations than the US and Australia. This freed the US to get their chance for the 2022 bid. All this strategy was ill-advised. Given that Europe won the 2018 bid, it made some sense as an after thought.

The other European bidding nations had still a hangover after the Germany 2006 World Cup as they are geographically close by. Russia is a little different from the normal trend or mainstream Europe, but then the weather is a big issue with me.They claim the summer temperatures were about 25 degrees centigrade, but we all know the truth. England was going to be the perfect set-up. If you look at the stadia, Wembely, the Emirates, the Goodson Park, the City of Manchester, just about any, in England, it would be folly to say they needed much renovation to meet the FIFA funny standards.

The United States of America, like England, were well poised for their second World Cup. They were confident of outdoing other favourites, Australia. There is no doubt the nation had the capacity to exceed their 1994 version, given the technology and the diversity of the people. The theory of the English game being too tired given they cannot win anything may have taken the crucial votes from FIFA members who voted by hearts. England may have won this bid, had they managed good results like a final berth in any of the tourney since 1966.

At the end of the day, my sympathy goes to the ill-advised England bid that was destroyed by journalists. The US, have trivial issues to solve and the Obama factor is on the negative, given the racist nature of his Presidency. Russia were never my bet, nor yours, but if we were voters, we may have offered double the support. As for Qatar, the World Cup in the desert was never my idea. The Doha International Airport is just a tiny pocket, but given the money and the 12 years to prepare, they will all the country urbanised.

All said and done, England will have the opportunity bto host the FIFA World Cup after North America (2026), Africa (2030), South America (2034) and Asia (2038) depending on whether they manage to change FIFA and force the rotation out of the way and arm-wrestle their way to glory. Malta, a nation of 300 000 citizens may even beat them by then. There is no guarantees as we have seen.