Germany’s Bundesliga is surely world soccer’s “it” league of the moment. So when the head of the reigning power association criticizes FIFA for awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, it may not be exactly ground-breaking material, but it does resonate with a certain weight.
Today’s excoriation of FIFA and the process that gave us Qatar as a World Cup host – no, that wasn’t just a nightmare you had after too many late-night tacos – also serves as a useful, high-profile reminder that …:
… It really was a dreadfully bad idea all along – like, a first-ballot member in the Hall of Fame of Bad Ideas. Possibly up there with Prohibition or Sergio Garcia’s notion of a joke.
… Consternation over this thing will stay on simmer right up until first kick – when it could possibly combust into full-blown riotous outrage as worldwide audiences watch the first player in history actually melt on the soccer field.
… Even highly official bursts of outrage will occasionally erupt.
… Notions of a winter World Cup, cumbersome as it would be (not to mention just plain weird for most of us), will persist.
… “Snark” on an official level is not out of bounds on these things. To wit:
Maybe you can create an artificial second sky over the whole country or over the stadia but what does that mean for the people in the media who need to work there, what does that mean for the fans who are there?”
The rest is pretty much garden variety outrage. You’ve seen it before.
And there certainly is a serious side to all this, even if FIFA cast the subject down into the land of folly with its choice of a land so unfit for the world’s most watched tournament.
Summer temperatures in Qatar, which was selected ahead of bids from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States, can reach up to 120 degrees in the summer.
Bundesliga top executive Christian Seifert complained of the potential effect on players, which is certainly a concern worth noting. He didn’t mention, however, the potentially ruinous impact on fans who prefer to watch their soccer without the need for IV fluids.
The priority is always first the health of the players and this is what makes me most upset that the decision was done that ignores probably the health of the players and that ignores what is real in the game. If you make a decision which is so far away from the sports perspective if it turns out only to become, let’s say, politically driven, sports politics decision, then this is not good for the game … I’m not sure of the credibility of FIFA. Maybe first they should change the claim – because this (Qatar) is not for the good of the game.”