Qatar 2022 – First Winter World Cup?
By now you’ve probably heard about the various controversies surrounding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It’s nine years until the competition but it has already been marred by allegations of corruption and slave labour. And of course worker deaths. Complaints have also been made about the countries strict rules on alcohol consumption and anti-homosexuality laws.
As if that wasn’t enough, major fears have been raised that the extreme heat in the sovereign Arab state is a health risk to fans and players who will not be acclimatised to the high Qatari temperature.
Officials are currently considering moving the competition to the winter months when the climate will be cooler and of less danger to those visiting the country. It goes without saying that a move to the winter would have massive repercussions for club football on a worldwide scale. The interruptions wouldn’t just affect one season either, The Premier League for example has claimed that a winter tournament could result in up to three seasons worth of interruptions.
Moving the competition to the winter months wouldn’t simply affect league football; if the competition is moved to the last three months of 2022 it will also have a knock on effect to continental competitions, such as the Champions League. The alternative is the first three months, a New Year reschedule would affect less competitions, but it would clash with The Winter Olympics, a possibility that the International Olympic Committee have strongly warned the tournaments organisers against.
So why don’t we just move the whole thing to another country? Well, that is an option, but despite being 9 years away it would most definitely cause a financial and logistical headache as the countries that were unsuccessful in their bid could seek financial compensation, as could the TV broadcasters who have already paid for the rights to the competition.
So, who’s to blame? Many people (myself included) have their finger pointed square at FIFA, who were reportedly well aware of the concerns of extreme heat ahead of voting and voted in favour of it anyway. I for one would not welcome the disruption to club football and the various competitions, not when the alternative would have been to just pick a sensible option in the first place.
How were these things overlooked during the selection process? Did the selection committee even research the country before voting for it to host the most watched sporting event in the world? Qatar has always been hot and intolerant of drinking culture and homosexuality, the latter of which still holds a 1 – 3 year jail sentence. It is this thought that gives weight to the allegations of vote buying and swapping amongst the vote committee 3 years ago. However, these claims have been aggressively denied and no foul play has been conclusively proven.
If the rumours of vote fixing aren’t true, the only alternative is that FIFA is incompetent and not fit to make decisions as large as who should host the competition. I can’t see fans getting as excited at the prospect of a winter tournament, The World Cup screams summer and sunny beer garden, although at least those not attending will be allowed to have a beer.
What do you think? Is there a solution that everyone has missed? Surely with the allegations a move seems the best option? With perhaps Great Britain being a likely destination?