I hate to harp on this topic so much, especially since there are 11+ years left of this disaster, but I cannot let this one go. Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been shooting their mouths off trying to defend FIFA’s asinine decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar. Again.
First Blatter has been suggesting to anyone who would listen that the 2022 World Cup should be moved to the winter. Platini, for his part, is playing up the idea of Qatar’s neighbors also holding matches for the 2022 World Cup. Neither a Gulf State tournament nor a winter tournament is new idea; those suggestions have been thrown around almost immediately following the 2022 blunder. Now however, the FIFA leadership is really playing it up. Platini in particular has taken umbrage to the (completely correct) assertion that FIFA is trying to move the goalposts. Despite Platini’s faux ire, FIFA is clearly restructuring the bid on its own in a way that really cheapens the whole process, and shows exactly how much time, energy, and money Qatar’s fellow bidder wasted. The pressure over the Qatar decision (as well as FIFA’s dubious ethics reform) must be really high because FIFA is seriously considering video replay technology, something it has resisted for years.
The world is very unhappy about Qatar because the bribery and cheating were so transparent. FIFA, made of old men who think they are invulnerable (largely because no one has ever held them accountable) were not prepared for the backlash and are trying to do major damage control. However, the damage control has only further alienated everyone. Yes, the English are bad losers, Sepp, but calling them out for it, especially when everyone knows they are right, does not deflect attention from FIFA’s failings.
Now Mohammed Bin Hammam the (Qatari) president of the Asian Football Confederation, and the major proponent of the Qatari World Cup bid (as well as the only serious potential challenger to Sepp Blatter’s continued presidency) has come out rather forcefully against Blatter’s and Platini’s suggestions. I am actually surprised to see this, both because it is a direct challenge to Blatter but also because who knew Qatar would be intransigent? I would have thought once they got the bid, they would let FIFA do whatever it wanted.
It will be very interesting to see what happens if Bin Hammam stands against Blatter for the FIFA presidency because of this, although he probably will not. Giving Qatar the World Cup was supposed to reduce the challenge, and Bin Hammam will probably be the next FIFA president anyway. I personally fear a Bin Hammam presidency. If Rous, Havelange, and Blatter have already been terrible blights on the sport, I can only imagine the damage that Bin Hammam and the oil-garchs will do.
As always with a Blatter interview, there is a money quote and this time it is his claim that the FIFA ExCo members “vote more with their heart than they vote with their head.” Who knew that they all kept their wallets in their breast pockets? (This is a not-so-subtle admission that FIFA corruption really screwed the pooch this time.)
By the way, the attendances at the Asian Cup in Qatar are terrible.
On a completely unrelated (and shallow) note: John Rooney, now of the NY Red Bulls, is far hotter than his brother Wayne.