Thursday, December 2, 2010

Qatar!?!?! Really?!?!?

Disappointing day today. FIFA decided to award Qatar, a country with a population of about 1.6 million people, the physical size of Connecticut and a National Soccer Team ranked 113th in the World, the 2022 World Cup.

I am not naive enough to think that the decision-making process that FIFA uses is clean. In fact, two members of the Executive Committee at FIFA were suspended for improprieties prior to the vote. But there is a real stink hovering over this decision.

No World Cup has made more money or had higher attendance since the United States hosted in 1994. Yet, by even FIFA's own analysis, they chose the bid with higher risk than the US bid for 2022.

I'm all for FIFA's mission to spread the "gospel" around the World. I also get the fact that the World Cup has never been held in the Middle East. But this decision was horrible. I'm sure we are going to hear a lot more about the decision-making process over the next few months. My guess? If a country is willing to pay (as reports about Qatar indicate) Zinedine Zidane $15 million to endorse them in the decision process, it is then logical to assume that this was just a great big money-grab by FIFA.

Postscript: At least FIFA's choice for the 2018, Russia, has a soccer culture, but I would have rather seen England or the Spain/Portugal bid to win.

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