Although I’m not particularly keen on football, and although it doesn’t focus on one particular city, I feel as if I want to say something about the 2022 Qatar world cup. Since 2012, my eyes have been opened to sporting events, and big events in general, as a force for good in the world; a unifying force. As such, UEFA’s decision to award the right to host the tournament to Qatar, and the subsequent furore currently resulting from it, interests me.
Going with Qatar was a bold move to begin with. While the middle east is often in the news, it is a part of the world we seldom focus our eyes on for sport, competition or friendship. No city in the middle east has ever hosted he Olympics. Thus it is good to see the region being included, brought into the family, in this way. No doubt the increased attention on the region will make us more aware of it’s rich history and culture, which can only be a good thing. Let the world see Doha as they saw London.
At the same time, though, I have to feel slightly cynical about all this. Given it’s such a tiny country, not known for it’s love of sport, one must wonder what lay behind UEFAs decision. Plenty of other countries were bidding, including the UK, who are much better placed to host such an event. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can detect a whiff of corruption in the air. Now we have the farcical dilemma over whether to hold it in the summer or winter, moreover, part of me feels that they should cut their losses an restart the selection process. After all, I’d love to see another big sporting event in Britain.
We all know, of course, that UEFA is not going to do that: for starters, Qatar, it’s stadia already half built, would be up in arms. But with domestic leagues deeply discontent over yesterday’s decision over timing, UEFA is frankly making itself a complete laughing stock.