5 Reasons To Love.....The Qatar World Cup
Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup (for now). Today on the blog Andrew Thomas gives us 5 reasons to “love” the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
… the sunshine
Everybody loves sunshine! Who doesn't love sunshine? Goths, yes, but they're weird. Vampires, yes, but they're evil. People with hangovers, yes, but then whose fault is that, really? No, I won't make you tea. No, we don't have any bacon. Yes, you did vomit in the sink.
Sunshine! Sunshine is great: it makes human beings happier and better and more brilliantly brilliant. Thomas Cook -- a British travel agent with absolutely no vested interests in the promotion of sunshine available in largely foreign places -- claims that sunshine not onlymakes you healthier (all that Vitamin D) and more energetic (endorphins), but also makes you richer. They quote Dr David Hirshliefer, of the Fisher College of Business, as saying "Sunshine is strongly positively correlated with daily stock returns." That voting makes a lot more sense now.
Anyway, since the Qatari summer regularly sees heat of up to 713 degrees, just think how happy the footballers will be. Vitamin D leaking out of their ears. Endorphins streaming from their noses. Sweat pouring from their body. When they keel over, energy spent, consciousness wavering, their body a desiccated husk, just imagine the width of their broad, beaming smile.
… the enlightened attitude to the rights of workers
In between mouthfuls of organic muesli, wishy-washy lefty types may try to tell you that the massive construction projects required for the 2022 World Cup aren't being undertaken with the greatest of respect for the people actually doing the heavy lifting. Noted bleeding-hearts Human Rights Watch will tell you that some migrant workers are suffering in a "crucible of exploitation and misery"; that they live in "overcrowded and unsanitary labour camps"; that they "routinely" have their passports confiscated. The wet blanket head of the International Trade Union Federation will tell you that "more workers will die building World Cup infrastructure than players will take to the field". Even the soft lads at Qatar's own National Human Rights Committee found that the accommodation provided to labourers failed to meet adequate health and hygiene standards.
But let's think about the priorities here. What's more important: that human beings are able to work in reasonable conditions, without a higher than usual risk of disease or death, and have their fundamental rights respected? Or that shiny stadiums with large hospitality suites are built as quickly and cheaply as possible? And then, of course, there's the aesthetics to consider. Slaves built the Colosseum. Free men built the Bullring. Think on.
… the enlightened attitude to homosexuality
It is illegal to be gay in Qatar.
On the surface, it might seem both baffling and repulsive that FIFA – an organisation that claims to have a "responsibility to reach out and touch the world, using football as a symbol of hope and integration" -- would even consider awarding the World Cup to such a nation. It might seem that there should be some kind of checklist at an early stage: "Ah, hello Qatar. I can see here that you've ticked 'Yes' for the question 'Are your country's laws fundamentally bigoted?', so I'm afraid we can't let you go any further. Do feel free to try again once you've achieved a basic level of human decency."
But then you remember that this is a sport where any player that goes down injured can expect to have his sexuality questioned, loudly and publicly, and where gay players are advised against coming out for reasons both economic and personal, and you realise that the only real difference between how Qatar treats being gay and how football treats being gay is that Qatar actually bothers to have a law. It's a perfect match! Stop holding hands, though, somebody might see.
… the BBC coverage
One of the undisputed highlights of the 2010 World Cup was the BBC's noble attempts to provide a little context. First Alan Shearer -- a man whose analytical skills consist entirely of describing what he can see, badly -- went and pottered around a couple of townships, nodding genially at poor South Africans, then back in the studio Alan Hansen offered a considered tactical breakdown of apartheid. It was a "flawed system", apparently, as though the systemic degredation of black people might lead to vulnerability on the counterattack.
Where they're going to go with Qatar is anybody's guess. Colin Murray ambling around an oil refinery? Garth Crooks trying on traditional Arabic dress? Mark Clemmit standing in the lobby of a vast hotel? It doesn't really matter; part of the joy's in the anticipation. We can relax knowing that at some point, somebody who gets paid to talk about football is going to be dropped a hilarious distance from their comfort zone. Makes the licence fee look like a bargain.
… the stories
The Times ended up thoroughly egg-faced after the Dream Football League story turned to be, well, just a story. However, take the following three ingredients. One, Qatar appear to want to spend an awful lot of money on football. Two, football appears to be very keen to accept all the money that Qatar want to spend. Three, there is a general suspicion on the part of the footballing media about Qatari intentions.
Now mix, serve over ice, and drink in the stories we're going to get ...
The Premier League to accept Qatari sponsorship, and adopt a new trophy in the shape of the Aspire Tower! Rangers to move from Glasgow to Doha, then apply to join the Championship from there! David Beckham to open a Qatari soccer academy … on the moon! It's going to be brilliant.
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Follow Andrew on Twitter: @andi_thomas
And read more of his work on his blog: TwistedBlood.co.uk