Thursday, December 02, 2010

2018 & 2022 World Cup

Men packed in a room. They shake hands, wink at each other and drop their ballots in the box.

Everyone knows the ballots will go towards the nation that will bring these men more personal wealth and fame. But in a silly sense of delusion, soccer fans still expect that the right footballing decision will be made and that the best nation will get the votes.

But this is not fair democracy. This is FIFA.

And this corruption is nothing new. It happened for the 2002 World Cup, then was repeated for the 2006 World Cup and has now taken place openly on Dec 2, 2010.

David Yallop's excellent book How They Stole the Game traces this history of corruption all the way back to the 1970's to the time of João Havelange and Andrew Jennings uncovers the modern day exploits of Sepp Blatter in his eye-opening Foul! The Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandal. Maybe in the future someone will write another book about this corruption or these authors might update their books to include current events. In the meantime, the on-field game will continue to suffer. Professional players will show up tired to World Cup games and not produce results. Fans will lament about the death of good soccer but seriously can good football be played at 50 deg C? Ofcourse, in the past soccer players were forced to play in such scorching conditions (Mexico 1986 & USA 1994) but that was because FIFA deemed the games had to be played at a time suitable for European audiences. The awful world cup final in 1994 was not down to tactics alone. It was down to the unbearable conditions which caused the players to not exert too much energy lest they collapsed in the heat.

New markets have now opened up for soccer, Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, but is it really for the good of the game? Time will tell.

On a lighter note, Qatar is the first nation hosting the World Cup that does not have a thriving film industry. Ofcourse, all that might change in 11.5 years, thanks to projects like the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF).

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