What an historic event the 2022 Qatar World Cup is set to be. First sports event to be held under FBI investigation, first to be held in unbearable heat, first to be held in a country that openly discriminates against people on grounds of sexual orientation and gender. The list goes on and if you can't read the sarcasm from this description then there is every chance you're a FIFA executive.
The farce of this event is on a scale unprecedented. It's nothing we've ever seen and hopefully, nothing we will see again. Officials have been whisked away covered in white sheets by police, major global conglomerates have taken a position of moral authority, and no one has a clue who will be leading the organization that is to carry out this miscarriage of justice.
Such is the absurdity of Qatar 2022, journalists don't need to preface their comments with the term “allegedly” before they detail the corruption and criminality of those people who decided to go ahead with this thing.
These executives aren't just guilty in the eyes of police, the FBI and the public, but by FIFA themselves. Under Sepp Blatter this organization has a ruthless ability to castigate and scapegoat anyone caught with the smallest hint of scandal, happy to kick their allies to the curb if it protects themselves for a few months longer.
For those that have no love or affiliation to soccer, much of this seems trivial if not amusing on some level. Yet for the billions who love the game and understand it's influence on a global scale, Qatar 2022 is the embodiment of everything that is evil and rotten to the core about the world game's governance.
Here are the top 20 reasons Qatar 2022 is already a disaster.
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20 FBI Investigation Ongoing
In the eyes of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, this is a scandalous turn of events that should holt anyone evening contemplating kicking a football in Qatar in 2022. With the help of Swiss authorities and insiders ratting on executives around the world, the FBI have come out from underneath the shadows to put their foot on FIFA's throat. Normally they wouldn't bother with soccer's political issues, but partaking in underhanded corruption deals on United States territory raises plenty of red flags and their investigation will be long but detailed.
19 Schedule Not Even Confirmed
Oh yes Qatar was bidding for the June/July 2022 FIFA World Cup in full knowledge that the tournament would, you know, need to be held across those dates. But once the announcement was made, they had to address the fact they were set to host the event in one of the hottest climates in the middle of their summer period. Now all of the soccer leagues and federations remain in limbo because that June/July period is more than likely to be switched to December/January which means we might have our first ever World Cup in Christmas and New Year. Or not. Frankly no one has a clue.
18 Talk Of A Split
The traditional power of global soccer has rested in Europe under the UEFA (European Football Association) body for 6 decades. Since the mid 1950s this collection of wealthy and influential elitists from Germany, France, Italy and England have been at the top of the pecking order. But introducing greater wealth and bigger influence from West Asia immediately brings conflict (think mafia mobsters fighting over drug territory). Some people like UEFA President Michel Platini pushed for Qatar 2022 while others saw it for what is was. Since the fallout members inside UEFA have been discussing a move away from FIFA but most of these suits don't have the courage of their conviction.
17 Overbearing Heat
As Seinfeld character Elaine Benes would say, “The heat! My God the heat!” Playing soccer in summer is quite the taxing exercise as it is without doing it in 120 degrees and 90% humidity or as the Qatari people would call it, Tuesday. In the middle of night the temperature has been gauged at a much more pleasant 86, but for any patrons hoping to go and support their team be represented on the world stage, they should be advised to take as little clothing as possible. Which is fine so long as you are not female.
16 Michel Platini Charges
The expected heir to Sepp Blatter's thrown is facing a possible 6 year ban away from all soccer activities with the revelations the former French star and UEFA President took a 'disloyalty payment' 9 years after supposedly undertaking whatever it was he was paid for. As a player with such a decorated history playing for his national team in the 1970s, the general feeling around Platini with his reputation in the game was positive. Since the recent charges all of that good will has gone out the door and it seems the corrupt FIFA machine knows no bounds.
15 LGBT Discrimination
The message from President Sepp Blatter last year was clear – if you're gay, by all means come to Qatar 2022 and enjoy all the sights and sounds at you're leisure, just make sure you don't act gay in any way possible. You don't need a Masters in Sociology to understand how incredibly insensitive, offensive and enraging those comments were from the head of world soccer. While on every level imaginable Blatter's advice is hideous, the fact remains it's actually true. Being gay is illegal in Qatar and with everything else going on in the world at the moment it is farcical to think that FIFA could embrace a nation who so readily discriminate on sexual orientation.
14 Alcohol Banned
It is yet to be determined if anything is going to change on this front, but as it stands drinking alcohol is illegal in Qatar. Aside from a few shady underground clubs and private settings, beer, wine and spirits are strictly forbidden to be consumed and carry fines and prison sentences depending on the severity of the “crime.” The Qatar sports minister gave the world's worst attempt at reassuring fans the country won't put a stop to these draconian measures when he said they will be “creative” with their rules in 2022. It's one thing to watch continuous soccer in searing heat, it's another to be told to do it sober!
13 Strengthens Middle East Oil Ties
While soccer and geopolitics are strange bedfellows, no one can doubt the lineage between oil industries in the Middle East and the flow of money into the region's sporting organizations. When Blatter opened the envelope to everyone's amazement bar the officials who bought into the plan, the announcement confirmed that the oldest and purest game of them all can be sold to the highest bidder. Money is indeed the root of all evil.
12 No Infrastructure
You have to hand it to the Qatari organizers, they know how to get good press out when the outrage dies down. The official line from the committee is that everything is going as planned and on schedule. How they are actually achieving this is another matter but it remains a monumental task to create something out of nothing. The desert in the Middle East hosts tiny stadiums in the local league and the building of multiple 50,000 plus stadia among the sand and heat will be logistically impressive, but ridiculous when it's all over. These grounds are expected to cost a total of $220 billion.
11 Presidency In Upheaval
The stress is starting to get to FIFA. The caretaker president is recovering from kidney failure while the disgraced Sepp Blatter is trying to get over a reported “small breakdown.” Blatter's suspension comes in the wake of the news of his impending resignation, although the Swiss diplomat has predictably spoke of a desire to continue when he returns to the FIFA mansion. Platini was supposed to be the man to take over but his scandal casts a shadow over all leadership positions.
10 Stadia To Be Relocated After Event
What legacy removes any evidence that the world's biggest event happened there? Qatar 2022 apparently. The plan is simple – to build world class air conditioned stadia and dismantle all of it before relocating these grounds to 3rd world countries. On face value that seems a noble pursuit, but there is no shortage of cynicism to this ploy. The Qatari league cannot sustain stadiums of this size and they all know as soon as the final whistle is blown, these white elephants must be packed up and put away.
9 Denies Australia
Down under is begging to host the FIFA World Cup. The local A-League competition has risen steadily from it's inception in 2005 and the Socceroos have competed in the last 3 tournaments with admirable performances. The country also happens to be champions of the Asian confederation and their bid for 2022 seemed to have a lot of good will and merit behind it. The nation excelled in hosting the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and besides ticking every common sense box on paper, the snub continues to leave a bitter feeling for all Aussies.
8 Denies USA
Apparently Blatter was angling for the cup to come back to the place that hosted the tournament in 1994, but who knows how much truth is in that rumor. The US were strong bidders, even bringing over former President Bill Clinton to try and smooth over the executives. Aside from the outstanding infrastructure, geographical positioning for television coverage, growing involvement in the sport and overall suitability, the USA couldn't cut it.
7 Sepp Blatter
He's given John Oliver plenty to talk about and for good reason. Outside of FIFA HQ no one likes or respects the man who clings to power for far too long and even then there would be people inside the facility who have their doubts. Speaking to the press he's been openly sexist, homophobic, racist and is completely ignorant to the magnitude of his actions. Under his leadership corruption is rife and narcissism is through the roof. There is no characteristic of the man that is remotely worth admiring.
6 Sponsors Getting Cold Feet
VISA, Coke, Budweiser and MacDonalds – all of them have urged FIFA to reform as an organization or they will threaten to pull out. Not even Oliver could avoid the irony over MacDonald's claim they were “not satisfied” with the body. Aside from the FBI investigation, this is the single biggest blow to FIFA. Major sponsorship deals with multinational conglomerates provide them with the scope to exploit tax loopholes and justify all of their actions. Now the PR is so bad these companies have to be seen to be doing something.
5 Corruption Already Proven
These officials make NBA players look like modest blue collar workers from the suburbs. Sports cars, watches, yachts, hotels, islands, mansions, you name it FIFA executives have bribed it. This is all for public consumption, just Google “FIFA” and “corruption” and before you a whole litany of misdeeds will be laid out before you. These are not men who make sound judgements for the betterment of the game, they're Gordon Gekko on steroids.
4 Slave Labor
If only there was money defending poor migrant workers in court because if there was, lawyers would be having a field day at FIFA's expense. The organization's ability to exploit the most vulnerable of people occurs with an agenda to generate the maximum amount of profit possible, setting aside any semblance of humanity. These workers live in slums and shipped out like cattle to build the monstrosities. Qatar have gone to great lengths to bar and in some cases, sent journalists to jail for reporting on these matters.
3 Worker Deaths
While migrant labor is not a problem unique to FIFA, overseeing an environment where impoverished people are dropping like flies surely goes beyond a point where governments and organizations sit on their hands and do nothing. Depending on who you read, the death toll in Qatar on work sites is ticking over at a frightening rate and it's any wonder this is allowed to go on in the shadows without any intervention. Corruption is one thing, exploiting poor people until they drop dead in the desert is evil on another level.
2 Coincides With Russia 2018
In isolation, Russia 2018 is an absurd choice to host a World Cup. Putting aside the political tensions with Ukraine and influence in the Syrian crisis, Russia's human rights record is deplorable and given it is only 2 and a half years away, there is no chance the tournament will have a positive lasting effect. The nation continues to do nothing to combat systemic racism during domestic football matches and the image of Sepp Blatter standing hand-in-hand with Vladimir Putin demonstrates how willing FIFA is to engage with wealthy dictators.
1 Games Reputation Irrevocably Damaged
The greatest disaster of them all is … well … the aggregate of all of these disasters. You cannot utter the word “FIFA” without the phrase “corruption” or “scandal” shortly following. Perhaps these actions have been going on for decades behind closed doors without people's knowledge and now it is all out in the open for public consumption. Regardless, the biggest sport on the planet has been tarnished from head to toe as a game that cannot be trusted because it has been run by the greediest, sleaziest collection of morally bankrupt people possible.
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