World Cup in Qatar? No, No, No!

Dec 08, 2010

FIFA’s decision to award the 2022 World Cup to the tiny Arab emirate of Qatar is, bluntly put, bold, baffling and just plain wrong.

Just about the only plus point with the successful Qatari bid is that matches will be played in a time-zone which suits the lucrative European market.

I don’t really buy this whole Arab pride belief because Qatar is not representative of the rest of the Middle East, and if you speak with anyone on the streets in Cairo or Damascus and they will have most likely have negative views on those “arrogant”, soulless oil and gas rich Gulf States.

As a sports fan, I want any major tournament to succeed. Qatar 2022 is undoubtedly an interesting and brave choice on FIFA’s part (corruption or otherwise) and could do Western-Arab relations a whole lot of good. But I just find it very hard to get excited by this announcement and can already visualize the atmosphere in 2022 being a little “sterile”.

Not a word you’d ever use if the first Arab/Muslim World Cup were to be held in Egypt or Turkey….two proper football nations.


This post was originally published on Bikya Masr in December 2010.