Monday, March 21, 2011

Platini's Paradoxical Words

Just when we thought FIFA and Blatter had made up their minds regarding the time of Qatar's 2022 World Cup, some other influential voices have recently come out with contradicting opinions. In true Platini fashion, UEFA (Europe's football association) President Michel Platini is shaking things up. Recently, Platini spoke about his wish for a pre-Christmas tournament in the gulf.

Platini's underwhelming and expected reasons are:

  • Soaring summer temperatures
  • No fan atmosphere
  • Must make the people happy!
At the conclusion of Platini's comments he backed FIFA's original decision in awarding Qatar. This could have something to do with the fact that he was involved in the voting process as well. Maybe not. But probably.
"Football belongs to everyone, football is universal," he said.
Platini's poetic statement is why I love the sport and there is truth in it, however, why did FIFA (and Mr. Platini) award the world cup to a nation that has laws openly discriminating against women, homosexuals, and non-Islamic religions?
The entire article is paradoxical in nature because FIFA could have taken all of these factors into account before electing Qatar in the first place. FIFA should have made the decision regarding when the tournament was to be played before the election. A pre-Christmas tournament should have already been a part of the package.

Friday, February 25, 2011

First Quiz Launched!

Take this Qatar Football Facts quiz here. Enjoy.

Al-Thani Family Sets Qatar on the Right Path

The same al-Thani family who had a major role in getting the World Cup 2022 in Watar's backyard have now set their sights on buying out Manchester United. Their mild £1.5 bil. proposal will only solidify their standing and security among football's elite. Qatari's are now doing business with Europe's mammoth clubs. Recently, the Qatari Foundation signed a shirt sponsor deal with the current kings of club football, Barcelona.
These deals are bound to show and remind FIFA they made the right decision economically. Did they make the right decision in the name of the beautiful game?
Have your say.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Qatar Monthly Temperature Averages

Now that Blatter has given in to the world's plea for the World Cup to continue to be held in the summer. Here's a glimpse of the temperatures FIFA will be battling:

Blatter Comes To His Senses

On Feb. 7 FIFA President Sepp Blatter told the BBC (in an interview) the World Cup would be held (most likely...) in its traditional summer time slot.
“Everything is settled now for summer and with all 64 matches in the territory of Qatar,” he said.
More interestingly, Blatter said changes in regards to the tournament could only come from the bidding nation's committee.
"In the bidding documents it was clearly established that the executive committee reserved the right to change anything in the bidding process, but here in this case it must come from Qatar,” Blatter added.
I am wondering whether Blatter is referring to the time the tournament's played, the stadium information, or the host nation itself? Ultimately, Qatar can withdraw from hosting the World Cup. Opening ceremony and kickoff won't be for another 11 years, so they have time to work it all out.
Here's a look back at the moment when Qatar received the good news:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lessons from 2011 AFC Asian Cup: Poor Attendance, Stubborn Police Forces Cast Clouds of Doubt Over Qatar 2022

Screen shot of the low attendance at the match between Kuwait and China at Al-Gharafa Stadium in Doha where only 7,423 fans filled the 25,000 capacity stadium.

Andrew Das made a fascinating assertion in's "Goal Blog" last week: Why couldn't FIFA have waited for the completion of the AFC Asian Cup hosted by, yours truly, Qatar?
Thousands of fans with legitimate tickets for the final between Australia and Japan were trapped outside Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. David Roberts, an Australian living in Doha, told the Sydney Morning Herald that 5,000 to 10,000 fans were abandoned outside the gates left to miss out on what was a thrilling final.
According to the tournament operations director, Jassim al-Rumaihi, members of the Qatar's ruling family were in attendance. Rumaihi explained that warnings and announcements were made telling spectators to arrive to the stadium early. In a statement to the NYTimes blog Rumaihi expressed his apologies.
“We feel sorry for people without a ticket; I hope it will not give a bad impression of the tournament in general,” Rumaihi said. “We were hoping we wouldn’t have something like this happen, but it happened and we will try to solve it. You can’t satisfy everyone.”
Unfortunately, Rumaihi's apology does not satisfy anyone.
The tournament showcased quality football, but sparse attendance at the five stadiums ultimately affected the overall success of the tournament negatively. Khalifa International Stadium, Qatar's largest arena with a capacity of 50,000, averaged an attendance of 29,056 at its matches. The total attendance of the tournament was 401,661. If the tournament had sold out, 875,000 seats would have been filled—473,339 seats were empty at a major international tournament. That figure could be 5,000 less if the royal family's presence hadn't incited mounted police to ward anxious spectators off.
So why couldn't FIFA have waited for the tournament to conclude before the bid announcement was made? Why I believe FIFA's delegation should have waited, the Washington Post's Soccer Insider, Steven Goff, viewed the Asian Cup situation differently.
"Asian Cup has no relevancy -- unlike the World Cup, it's a regional event without global appeal."
In the history of FIFA World Cup bidding, only once has FIFA overturned an original winning bid. In September of 1974 FIFA announced Columbia as hosts for the 1986 tournament, but for economic reasons, Columbia was forced to resign. Just three years before the '86 tournament was Mexico announced as hosts.
Goff was firm regarding Qatar's legitimacy, and does not see FIFA pulling off another "Columbia" '86 snub.
"FIFA won't change the site unless something catastrophic occurs. The vote is final," he said.
Qatar was announced hosts of the 2011 Asian Cup on July 29, 2007 during the 2007 cup in Jakarta. FIFA's regulations state that confederation tournaments (Africa Cup of Nations, Asian Cup, European Championships, Viva World Cup, Copa America, CONCACAF Gold Cup, and OFC Nations Cup) can be held in January or June/July. FIFA are now in speculation to adjust its regulations regarding the World Cup (see last post).
Realistically, FIFA needed to wait just two more months before their final decision was made. Before the 2010 South Africa World Cup, the 2009 Confederations Cup was seen as the host nation's dress rehearsal. FIFA have already been able to assess Qatar after the conclusion of the Asian Cup last week; Qatar decided to have its dress rehearsal 11 years early.
Several comments from readers of the NYTimes "Goal Blog" brought important and noteworthy views to the discussion. Considering the time until the 2022 World Cup, we must be realistic and aware of the possibility of a shift in Qatar's political structure. At the moment, an autocratic rule gives off an outdated and stale air in the midst the modern political era. By 2022 FIFA could be lead by a Qatari. Who knows?
But, as it stands, the Asian Cup showed the world that Qatar had issues hosting a tournament that is dwarfed by a competition like the World Cup. The World Cup will be bringing in South American and European fans, who, in all honesty, will bring hostility in comparison with an Asian timidity. However, Goff sees only rolling meadows in Qatar's future.
"Qatar has 11 years to prepare. I'm sure it will put on a good show."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bin Hamman Says What We're All Thinking

The Asian Football Confederation President Mohammed Bin Hamman has blamed FIFA President Sepp Blatter's age as the reason for the recent accusations of bribery towards Qatar's winning 2022 bid. Blatter has been in office for a whopping 35 years, and he is up for re-election in June. As we speak, no one is running against him. Bin Hamman has hinted at the possibility of running against the dated and aged Blatter, but would rather more vibrant and charismatic leaders compete for the post as he is 61.What's more perplexing about the article is that Bin Hamman is speaking publicly against the captain of the organization that granted a nation under his eye the highest honor of holding a World Cup. Qatar's bid committee must be feeling Hamman should have kept his thoughts inside.
Hamman also touched on the premature discussions about FIFA's plans to move the 2022 World Cup to January, allegations of FIFA executives Amos Adamu (Nigeria) and Reynald Temarii (Tahiti) of taking bribes and trading votes, and the implementation of goal-line technology for the 2014 World Cup.Who should run against Blatter for the post in June? Is Mr. Hamman crazy or brave to be bringing discussion of Blatter's age to the public?

Please accept this as an invitation to respond, and to do so passionately.

Finally, I came across this sentence on ESPNsoccernet's World Cup 2022 page oozing with suspicion and anticipation.THE QUALIFICATION PROCESS FOR THE 2022 WORLD CUP HAS NOT YET BEEN ANNOUNCED.

(Clockwise from bottom right: the man I feel would make a good replacement as FIFA president, Amos Adamu, Sepp Blatter, and Reynald Temarii, Middle: Mohammed Bin Hamman)