We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Sat 28 Feb 2015 02:14 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Qatar’s winter World Cup: pure genius or madness?

FIFA’s perplexing decision has at least switched the spotlight away from allegations against the Gulf state, says Anil Bhoyrul

Qatar’s winter World Cup: pure genius or madness?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of “genius” is “an exceptionally intelligent person or one with exceptional skill in a particular area of activity”.

It goes to follow, then, that the definition of “madness” is the exact opposite. In my experience, there is often a thin line between the two, especially as many mad people think they are geniuses. Generally, such people come up with an idea so ridiculous and so absurd, that many people tell them it’s actually a great idea. They then start to believe this, and quickly convince themselves that they are “geniuses.”

Which brings me neatly onto the Qatar 2022 World Cup, and FIFA’s recommendation last week that it is held during the months of November and December. Now some would argue that the decision to award Qatar the World Cup was madness, but let’s leave that one for now. What strikes me as utter madness is FIFA’s plans to move the greatest show on earth to the winter months. I suspect it’s a classic case of mad people believing they are geniuses.

Let’s do a quick recap here: when FIFA awarded Qatar the World Cup back in 2010, it was based on the tournament being held in June/July. That’s the way it has always been, so the tournament doesn’t disrupt around 50 domestic leagues across the globe. All the other countries submitted their bids on that basis – for a summer World Cup. There is a strong likelihood that losing bidders such as Australia may now launch legal action against FIFA, on the grounds that the original bids should now be declared completely null and void. And I think this is a fair point. If it’s a winter World Cup, surely everyone should get the chance to bid again based on a winter tournament? The “geniuses” at FIFA clearly haven’t accounted for the prospect of a lengthy and costly legal battle that will put all the 2022 plans completely on hold. The first goal of the 2022 World Cup has already been scored – by highly paid lawyers.

As every football fan knows, staging the World Cup in November/December will require a 70 day clear period (including pre-tournament training) for all teams – creating complete havoc on all domestic leagues.  It will simply ruin that domestic season for players and fans alike.

Worst of all, the current FIFA thinking means it is likely that the actual World Cup final in 2022 will be held on Sunday December 23. Two days before Christmas. Pure genius. This the time of the year when most people are up to their necks in financial commitments and so are unlikely to bother attending. And just imagine the winning team, returning home for a victory parade on Christmas Day 2022. What a farce.

Is there a solution? Unfortunately FIFA’s track record is that it generally does whatever it likes, especially if its executives have enough cash thrown at them. But in the unlikely event that FIFA’s dictator-in-chief Sepp Blatter loses his re-election bid in May, I would suggest the following: FIFA’s new leader immediately scraps the plans for a winter tournament. He then takes the advice that every expert has been giving FIFA, which is to move the event to May 2022 – still hot but sufficiently cooler in late evenings  for the safety of players and fans not to be compromised. The domestic leagues would start a month earlier in July 2021, meaning no real disruption.

The one good thing about FIFA’s winter World Cup plans is they have finally shifted the focus off Qatar and the stream of corruption allegations (many unfounded) made against the country over its bidding process. Nobody is talking about that any more – the conversation has moved on to not if Qatar will host the World Cup, but when.

Now you could call that a stroke of genius.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest lifestyle news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
N mechmoum 5 years ago

Decided. Agreed. Sealed .
Find an other subject to make a living of journalist.

procan 5 years ago

The real fight has not even started yet, brace yourself FIFA. The gloves are about to be taken off. Lawyers will advance to the next round, new investigators will probe deeper where many fear to go.

Anil Mathew 5 years ago

Neither genius or madness. Just business as usual.

Sudan 5 years ago

This is very true - "The one good thing about FIFA’s winter World Cup plans is they have finally shifted the focus off Qatar and the stream of corruption allegations (many unfounded) made against the country over its bidding process. Nobody is talking about that any more – the conversation has moved on to not if Qatar will host the World Cup, but when."