Friday, December 3, 2010

Qatar gets 2022 World Cup: Update I

I've been seeing a lot of articles in the US about how horrible it is that Qatar won the bid for World Cup in 2022 and it's really getting on my nerves.  There have been 19 World Cups so far.  In 2010, the first one was held in Africa.  In 2002, the first one was held in Asia, in Korea and Japan.  Otherwise, all of the World Cups have been held in Europe or Latin America, plus the US in 1994.  In my mind, this seems to deny half the world the opportunity to have a World Cup in their country or region.  Which is why I'm getting so irritated at these articles blasting Qatar and FIFA.

Let me reply to some of the complaints listed in the Yahoo! article I linked to above.

1) "heat, which will force fans and players to endure temperatures soaring over 100 degrees during the tournament."
Yes, because it's not hot in the southern US where the 1994 World Cup was held.  Oh wait, it is.  I watched that World Cup.  It was very hot, and in the southern US it's also very humid.  In Qatar, it's not as humid.  And yes, there is a big difference between dry heat and humid heat.

2) "impracticality of hosting a global event in a nation with only one major city"
As long as their airport has the capacity, and there are enough hotels, I don't see the problem.  One could even make the case that the teams and fans won't have to travel as much when they play.  Qatar is bordered by Saudi Arabia and the sea, so there won't be much foreign travel from there (SA).  But I could see Bahrain and the UAE picking up tourism and helping to transport them to the games.

3) "security risks of staging it in the midst of a politically unstable region"
Really?  Considering how many World Cups have been held in Central and South America, you're going to trot out security?  Qatar is a stable country in the Middle East.  They're one of the only Middle Eastern countries to have an Israeli trade office.

4) "Qatar’s political alliance with Iran"
Qatar is located directly across maybe 40 miles of water from Iran.  Most of the Gulf States are.  Qatar and Iran have an economic relationship, and Qatar believes Iran should be able to use "peaceful nuclear technology."  Oh no!  If they don't condemn Iran, I guess that means they're evil!

5) "Qatari women still suffering from routine sexual discrimination"
At least this is a valid argument.  Although Qatar is making inroads into equality, and hopefully will soon have elections for the Majlis al-Shura.

To me, this just sounds like sour grapes.  If Australia had won the bid, I don't see this much reaction from the US about it.  But how dare some pipsqueak little Arab country that we have to protect win it instead of us.

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