Don’t Fall For The Winter World Cup Hustle

It's getting really difficult to continue reading headlines about FIFA moving the 2022 World Cup to winter, when the question should be whether to move the World Cup somewhere else.

When rescheduling the Cup was first proposed, it was immediately ruled out by FIFA, in part because the $200 million bid prepared by Qatar (by comparison, Australia put up $42.7 million and the US put up just $5 million) told fables of cloud-moving technology that would shade fans during the extreme summer heat, as well as the special ventilation system with gigantic fans to keeps those in attendance cool (if any show up to a nation which bans alcohol). But that $200 million bid must have been spent on something else, because none of these technologies emerged and were deemed impossible by Qatari officials shortly after winning the bid.

One would think this would cancel all plans for Qatar to host the World Cup, especially considering FIFA admitted playing conditions would be unsafe for players during the summer. But Qatar had even more money to spend during their solo presentation to FIFA's African executive committee, something no other nation was able to obtain. Qatar managed to get the exclusive meeting by paying for the Confederation of African Football's annual conference, much to the dismay of just about everyone, and used the money to buy time in front of officials. “As far as memory goes, it is the very first time that a congress excludes 99% of bidding nations from being present, and at the same time offers its forum to only one nation,” said an email written by a bidder from another country.

But now that the initial promises have been broken, there isn't much choice but to move a hypothetical World Cup in Qatar to winter, because the heat wouldn't be safe for fans or players, calling into question the legitimacy of the original, super-expensive bid in the first place.

There isn't any evidence that nails FIFA to a bribery scandal, aside from the two members of the executive committee who were suspended for asking for bribes from British journalists posing undercover, nor the extremely shady dealings of Mohamed bin Hamman, the former VP of FIFA who was also suspended for a year following allegations of, yup, bribery. Bin Hamman was also running for FIFA President, challenging the almighty Sepp "Racism can be cured with a handshake" Blatter. But in a surprise move, he backed out at the last minute, calling Blatter a friend, adding he was now backing him. He also happens to be from Qatar. 

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

Other members of FIFA's disgraced committee quit in disgust, perhaps unwilling to watch FIFA destroy its reputation, not to mention the lives of the workers (more like indentured servants) lost building massive stadiums in a country with barely any stadium infrastructure during the same heat declared unsafe for players to play in.

Though Blatter may see his legacy evolving as one that spread the beautiful game to poor nations in his head, in reality he's causing a mess. Whether he's getting paid or not is unclear, but one would hope he is considering the blood on his hands. Brazil is bad enough, with protests surrounding the Confederations Cup that went on for months because people couldn't understand why these massive stadiums were necessary when millions of people lived in poverty. 

There isn't likely to be much of an uprising in Qatar, though, as the absolute monarchy has one of the highest wealth disparities in the world and would surely crush any attempt at revolution by the poor workers who are still alive, likely too exhausted to muster a protest anyway.

But we're not talking about any of these things, instead falling for the charade-controversy of when the Cup will be played. This should not be a question of "when", it should be a question of "if." A winter World Cup will cost millions of dollars due to rescheduling European soccer leagues (a move widely criticized by European members of FIFA). Rather than moving it for the first time ever to a place that will have more dead workers than soccer players on its hands when it's all said and done, the better option would be to move it elsewhere.

The winter World Cup is a pathetic attempt to change the discussion, and the media, including the New York Times, is falling for the hustle. They ran a headline reading  "FIFA to Delay 2022 World Cup in Qatar". But FIFA has not made any final decisions on when the 2022 Cup will take place, and said they won't until after the 2014 Cup in Brazil ends. The latest rumor, started by Jerome Valcke (also the centerpiece of the 2014 World Cup rigged-draw conspiracy), FIFA's secretary general, on French radio, is just another attempt to distract the public while normalizing a ridiculous situation.

After the headlines hit, other members of FIFA shot down the rumors. 

"I am totally shocked to be honest," said Jim Boyce VP of FIFA of Valcke's comments.

From one Jim to another, if that's what you're really shocked by, you truly have no clue.