Will FIFA Change Because of the English Reaction?
December 9, 2010 6 Comments
After a disastrous World Cup this year English football fans looked forward to the possibility of ending 2010 on a high note by winning the right to host the World Cup in 2018. This however was not to be the case, England lost out to Russia after going out in the first round only managing to gain two votes, one of which being from our own English representative Geoff Thompson. Another surprise was that the ‘great’ footballing nation of Qatar would be hosts for the 2022 World Cup.
Many fans, myself included, thought that England was almost guaranteed the privilege to host the World Cup when it was announced we would be putting a bid in. So last weeks announcement came as a huge shock, not only that but it has also angered and bewildered many people. This has been brought about by the way FIFA seems to have conducted the bidding process. The British media recently exposed elements of corruption and bribery within FIFA, most notably coming from investigations conducted by the Sunday Times and BBC’s Panorama.
These allegations cannot be overlooked, and are viewed by many as influencing the outcome of last weeks results, something which seems to be backed up by many post bid reactions especially that of the FA. I can’t seem to overlook the fact that the two winning bids for 2018 and 2022 are going to be held in two extremely wealthy nations, this is something I’m sure FIFA will look forward to tapping into.
It looks like FIFA has gone for the same formula that it did in the last World Cup in South Africa. This idea of bringing football to areas of the world that would otherwise struggle to develop the sport. I am all for this ‘legacy’ that FIFA want to create, and I suppose that’s why I am not as angry about Russia winning the 2018 bid, although obviously I would of preferred England.
Russia has an established and respectable national team, and a domestic league that is going from strength to strength, with the more successful teams attracting lots foreign talent such Vágner Love, Maicon and Ireland’s Aiden Macready. I feel that this will bode well for a successful World Cup. That being said, I am concerned as to how the deep-rooted football violence and racism issues will affect the World Cup, particularly as to how the African teams will be received by the Russian fans. But in contrasts to England’s bid surely there was no comparison. We have superior stadia, better infrastructure, Gary Linekar, a stronger domestic league, and of course we invented the game. Also we need some sort of ‘legacy’ to help develop our game, judging on recent performances that is.
What did take me by surprise though was Qatar winning the right to host in 2022. Last time I checked the World Cup was primarily about football, not about how many billions can be flung around. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Qatar have never qualified for a World Cup, so I wondered what their recent Asia Cup record was, Asia’s equivalent of the European Championship, not good was the answer I got. If you want to know they are ranked 113 in the FIFA world rankings. I also wanted to find out what would be done to contend with the 40-degree summer temperatures and the ban on alcohol in Qatar. Climate controlled stadiums and fan drinking zones were the answers there. That’s right, Qatar are going to introduce air conditioning into the playing areas of their stadiums to combat the heat, Wayne Rooney can breath a sigh of relief then, not that he will still be playing by then anyway. Also I wonder what would happen if you put all the drunk football fans into one place?
These measure’s I feel will create a very sterile atmosphere in Qatar. After all its how you immerse yourself into the host nations culture and the freedom that the fans get which is one of the lures to going to a World Cup, and one of the reasons behind there continued success. All past tournaments have proven this to be true.
The events over the past week must lead to some sort of reform within FIFA; they surely will not be able to hide from all this vocal criticism. Simple measures such as giving each FIFA affiliated Football Association a vote on issues such as the World Cup would; I feel create a more legitimate outcome to their decisions. At the moment they just seem completely out of touch with the football community, and for an organisation that has so much control over international football, that is criminal.
Please comment and let us know what you think!