When Qatar won the rights to the 2022 World Cup earlier this month, I was in the minority in this country. I actually thought it wasn’t such a bad idea.
Sure, there was disappointment about the United States getting passed over, but it was a good thing that FIFA wanted to spread soccer’s biggest sporting event to different parts of the world.
However, the recent talk of moving the World Cup to the winter has me hotter than the summers in that Middle Eastern nation.
FIFA knew of the stifling heat in Qatar in the summer. Qatar assured FIFA and the world that it would have air-conditioning that would make the games safe for the players and fans.
So what changed in the few weeks since Qatar got the World Cup? Why the talk of moving the World Cup from the summer to the winter months that we’re hearing from FIFA executive committee member Franz Beckenbauer, UEFA president Michel Platini and Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam?
There’s been no new information provided. It gets hot there. Hey, we knew that!
Fortunately, some club teams — such as Barcelona and AC Milan — have balked at talk of changing the dates of the World Cup.
Moving the World Cup to the winter would wreak havoc on the domestic leagues in Europe. Teams in England just got done playing two games in three days. Their season is in full swing. The Bundesliga is on winter break, but it is scheduled to start up again on Jan. 14. A winter World Cup would diminish the league races in Europe.
While a winter World Cup likely would help the United States — the MLS players would be rested — the United States Soccer Federation should take a stand and say no to moving the tournament. The U.S. lost out on the right to play host to the 2022 World Cup, even though it had a superior bid proposal. But now we’re worried that Qatar may not be the right choice if the games are played in the summer? That’s ludicrous. And it’s wrong.
FIFA picked Qatar to play host to the World Cup in the summer of 2022. Everyone knew the tournament is played in the summer when FIFA made that decision. FIFA needs to stick to playing in Qatar in the summer or not have the tournament played there.
And, hey, while it gets hot in Kansas City in the summer, we’d be more than happy to have the World Cup played here, right?
What are your thoughts?
| Pete Grathoff, firstname.lastname@example.org