Ever since Qatar was awarded the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the fact that this tiny but wealthy Gulf emirate was chosen to host such an event has been the source of much anger, frustration and bewilderment amongst those within and outside the soccer world.
On Friday, it was announced that FIFA will set up a commission to examine the viability of hosting the 2022 World Cup during the winter months of November to February, with the findings being presented in 2015 at the earliest. Many conclusions can be drawn about what FIFA’s latest decision means or represents but in the end, one must interpret it as the organization maintaining the status quo.
The decision to set up this committee was predictable because FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the Executive Committee (ExCom) responded to outside pressures by choosing to address the issue(s) at hand as they feel like it. Which is to say they made the decision of reminding who has the power while placating those attacking them.
Therefore, for those of you fanboys (you know who you are) still harboring wishes that the United States is somehow going to be awarded the 2022 World Cup, forget about it. The fact is that the 2022 World Cup is going to be held in Qatar, if for nothing else so that Blatter and the ExCom wouldn’t lose face and any political clout.
If anything, the setting up of the committee solidifies that Qatar will host the World Cup, so forget any negotiation idea between FIFA, Qatar and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) because that was never going to happen in reality.
The current issues and frustration related to the 2022 World Cup taking place in Qatar also symbolizes the current issues and frustrations that many have with FIFA as a sporting organization, and how it has operated in essence since the 1970s. Therefore, in order for any substantial change to occur within the organization, there needs to be a change of culture and how business is operated.
For anyone who takes token gestures displayed by FIFA, keep in mind that nothing is going to change so long as Blatter and the members of the ExCom are allowed to operate and run FIFA as they wish. Unless a good majority of member federations press it to actually enact serious institutional and operational reforms, it won’t happen. And yes, this includes how the 2022 World Cup has been handled.
There are many different variables that will determine whether the 2022 World Cup will be played during the summer or if it will played during the winter. Whether it be fellow writers or soccer fans, many still do not understand enough about the current debate.
That is why I ask all of you reading this to listen to the September 22 Podcast on the Beyond The Pitch website to have a better understanding of what is going on and why this latest decision is par for the course.