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Friday, 26 July 2013

An excessive build-up of mucus

At least that is how my dictionary describes catarrh, or to give it its modern Arabic spelling, Qatar.

And that is how the current debate over the 2022 World Cup sounds. Well we all know how the Qataris won the bidding.  It wasn't down to their excellent record in the competition - they have never qualified.  Nor was it down to the excellent quality of their stadiums and practice facilities - they have 3 and they are not fit for purpose.

Nor was it even due to their climate. As everyone else realised at the time and it is now dawning on FIFA, 50C is no temperature to watch football, let alone play it. And after a few years the Qataris now say that they would like to interrupt the European football season, requesting that the various leagues interrupt their multi-billion TV schedules so their audiences can watch Tunisia v Bolivia or Taiwan v Costa Rica.

The reason of course, as is always the case in modern global sport, was money, lots of money.  Possibly due to the bribery of football associations who were promised stadiums by the Qataris. Possibly due to the bribery of  the representatives f those associations, and possibly due to the bribery of Blatter and his muckers.  They have plenty of form as Panorama exposed two years ago.

In any event, the one set of interested parties that has always been overlooked is the fans.  Assuming that the tournament is played in the summer but not at the peak of the summer in June, allowing some time for post-season acclimatisation, that would imply the usual three week mid to late July timetable. Still thirsty weather, which is a shame for the average beer drinking fan.  Alcohol is usually available in the swankier restaurants in Qatar at 3 to 5 times the price in the same sort of venue in London, and is also available to licensed expats. But it is not available at all during Ramadan, which in 2022 begins on July 10th.

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