World Cup in Middle East? Qatar to be Exact

16 Apr

2022 is a decade away and probably not on the minds of most people. I personally don’t know where I’ll be living after the end of this month. Thinking that far ahead seems implausible to me. However, I know I’ll be doing at least one thing that year; watching the World Cup of soccer. I won’t be alone, billions of people will tune in the month of June/July to watch as 90 minutes of drama unfolds over computer screens, radios, televisions or whatever the preferred medium is in a decade. The host nation will treat the world to a month of its favorite sport. Bills will be enormous, but the profits will be too. The burden of hosting the world to a month of football is comparable to Atlas holding the world on his shoulders, and that burden will be held by Qatar.

Major sporting events are rarely if ever hosted in the Middle East. Both the Olympics and the World Cup have never been in the region. You have to look to Formula 1, professional golf, or tennis to find a major sporting event hosted here. In December 2010, 12 years before the event, Qatar won the bid to host football’s World Cup. But they did not receive this distinguished privilege with open arms from the global community. Before the bidding process had even started, accusations of corruption flogged the process. When the decision was made that Russia and Qatar would be hosting the 2018 and 2022 games respectively on December 2, 2010, those accusation caught fire. Any reason to forbade Qatar from hosting the games was applicable.

Aside from the accusation of bribery and corruption, the nation of Qatar and its ability to host was infantilized. By this I mean that the country as a whole was portrayed and baby like, needing assistance, and lacking the maturity to handle a world class sporting event. The claim has some roots in validity. The tiny country has never qualified for or played in a world cup, ever. Additionally, the country has very limited infrastructure which would support soccer games. There are very few stadiums which are large enough to host a World Cup match. The costs associated with hosting the event is estimated to be at least 138 billion British Pounds.


While many would look at these and say those are damning aspects in regards to their bid, it presents Qatar with many opportunities as well. For one, the country now has a reason to invest in their stadiums and their team. From a stadium side, this could be the proving ground for all the world. Qatar will be building state of the art pitches and areas for fans to crowd around in. As Qatar will be an average of over 100 degrees in the summer, the new stadiums are planned to have a technology of the future, air conditioning. New hotels and infrastructure to house fans will also need to be constructed.

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This also present many opportunities for young athletes. Players who are only 10 years old now, may be playing for their country when the games roll around. Qatar has committed to investing in not only their academy team but in many countries around the world.

There are however several areas in which some controversy is deserved in regards to Qatar’s hosting of the event. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and might present a problem for host nation. Speculating 10 years in the future, this law might seem far past it’s shelf life for many countries competing in the games. The second is in regards to the nation of Israel. While it is impossible to determine whether or not the Israeli team with qualify, given their poor track record I would bet not, they can. That being said, Qatar does not recognize the nation of Israel. Therefore could they not compete in the games? The third area to be concerned about is the country’s fairly strict laws on alcohol. Alcohol is not illegal in Qatar, however the public consumption of it is. Drinking and the world cup go together like disappointment and anticipating a Chicago Cubs World Series. Hassan Abdulla al Thawadi, Qatar’s chief executive for the World Cup bid said that the rules will be a little different when the World Cup comes to town.

Right now it does not seem as if anything will stop Qatar from hosting the World Cup in 2022. That is a good thing. This is a rare opportunity for not only this country, but this region to be showcased in a positive light. The same negative things were written the past decade about the South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup in 2010. Spain’s victory capped off a month that went over smoothly and seamlessly. South Africa handled the world with the utmost hospitality and showcased itself as a formidable host. With the hosting of the World Cup, Qatar can do the same thing. This will give the tiny country a rare opportunity to showcase not only that country, but the entire region.  

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