FIFA announced on Wednesday that the 2022 World Cup in the Middle East nation of Qatar would not be played in June and July, as is custom with every World Cup. Instead, the tournament will be played in the winter, sometime between the middle of November and the middle of January in order to avoid the extreme summer heat in Qatar.
Staying out of the Qatar summer heat is the right move, but moving the tournament to the winter months will be a major inconvenience for the soccer world, even with eight years notice to prepare for it. More importantly, the fact that the tournament has to be moved to winter proves what a half-brained idea it was to allow Qatar to host the tournament in the first place, as it was a major mistake by FIFA that has proved impossible for them to fix.
Being forced to move the 2022 World Cup to winter is what’s best for the safety of the players and fans, but it’s not what’s best for soccer. The powers that be in the English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, The Bundesliga, and the other major soccer leagues in Europe and all over the world are no doubt furious at this decision, and for good reason. Those leagues are all in midseason form between the middle of November and the middle of January, and now they will be unnecessarily interrupted in 2022, all because FIFA didn’t realize that it was a mistake to allow a nation with extreme summer heat to host the World Cup.
As prestigious as the World Cup is, the major European leagues are also a big deal, and it’s disrespectful to interrupt their seasons in order to stage a World Cup because FIFA lacked foresight. There’s no way that FIFA has considered and has a solution for all the possible complications moving the World Cup to winter will cause for players, clubs, and fans.
Sepp Blatter and FIFA could have solved this problem a long time ago, and they still can. The solution is simple: don’t let Qatar host the 2022 World Cup. Qatar is not an historic soccer nation with pride and tradition, and there’s no reason why they deserved to host the tournament in the first place, aside from the fact that it’s an oil-rich nation with a lot of money.
Yes, it would be a public relations and image nightmare for FIFA, but they’d have years to recover from that. Moreover, there have been whispers of corruption since the day it was announced that Qatar would host, and surely FIFA can find a way to negotiate it’s way out of allowing Qatar to host. It won’t be easy and it won’t be pretty, but it’s what needs to be done; moving the World Cup to winter is a cop out, not a solution, and it proves that FIFA made a mistake when they gave hosting duties to Qatar.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.