The US has a convincing bid, and historical precedent may be on its sideby Ian Plenderleith / July 11, 2014 / Leave a comment
Football has been a wonderful distraction for the past month, both for fans and for the game’s governing body FIFA. We lolling, couch-tethered spectators have happily evaded the daily realities of existence, and the depressing headlines of the actual—as opposed to the sporting—news. FIFA, meanwhile, will have been overjoyed that the generally great football has meant a much lower focus during the tournament on its reputation as an ethically bankrupt institution still allegedly rife with corruption, hypocrisy and cronyism, and its disastrous decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
The word “disastrous” is of course overused in sport, usually to describe a mistake by Steven Gerrard that cost his club side the title, or his country a point against Uruguay. In the context of Qatar, however, the word is genuinely apposite for those poorly paid migrant workers who have died or been exploited while upgrading the country’s infrastructure and building its new stadiums. FIFA’s cuddly, all-inclusive clichés touting Fair Play and fighting discrimination won’t apply to Qatar either—homosexuality is illegal there, and political parties are banned.