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Qatar get things right off the pitch

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Gordon Farquhar | 14:00 UK time, Saturday, 8 January 2011


If only the spectacular fireworks and pyrotechnics that launched the 16-nation Asian Cup in Qatar had put some fire in the bellies of the hosts' national team.

The opening game was something of a damp squib but for this observer it proved the perfect opportunity for a first view of what the World Cup might feel like when it is here in 2022.

On the day Fifa president Sepp Blatter steered our thinking firmly in the direction of a winter World Cup in the Gulf State, Qatar took on Uzbekistan at the Khalifa stadium in Doha.

It's a fine sight, a splendid open bowl of a stadium, with a capacity of around 50,000, set on a vast site in the capital.

Next door stands the impressive Aspire Tower, 300 metres tall, looking like a giant Olympic torch, erected in time for the 2006 Asian Games which were staged here.

Close by is the Aspire Centre, an elite sport training complex that would be the envy of any Football Association in the world. Bayern Munich have been enjoying their winter break here.

It's hard to imagine a better set-up, with manicured pitches indoors and out and state of the art gymnasiums. It's home to Qatar's national football academy. On the evidence of the match I saw, the school of excellence has much work to do before 2022.

The game was pretty much a sell-out, the crowd a mixture of ex-pats from all over the world, including a strong Indian contingent and Qatari nationals.

Some of the rituals are familiar, including the anticipation of arrival drawn out by the traffic jams around the venue.

Most people seemed to drive and public transport, if there was any, wasn't much in evidence. The huge car parks around the stadium complex were rammed with four-wheel drives, spilling out fans decked in scarves and carrying flags in the maroon and white of Qatar.

All were in good spirits but none had taken spirits. There were no walking wounded with beer injuries here. Qatar's not dry - you can get a drink in the hotels, but forget bars and pubs. Water, tea, coffee and vegetable-based sodas are your lot.

On the plazas surrounding the stadium the micro-industry of football tat was on sale - hooters, flags but not much in the way of replica shirts. Perhaps they wouldn't look too great over the traditional Arab dress.

Inside the stadium there was the usual chaos of people in the wrong seats but everything around me was amicably resolved.

There were just a handful of stewards visible and the only police seemed to be directing the traffic. Obviously no-one expects trouble, helped no doubt by the fact that everyone's sober.

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Qataris clearly don't do banners. The only decoration around the retaining walls belonged to the handful of Uzbeks, who by the second half were drowning out the futile attempts of the small group of home fans armed with megaphones, trying to whip up the crowd.

The pre-kick-off Mexican waves were about the limit of communal activity. There was little singing, not much chanting, a modest amount of cursing and quite a lot of despair at the abject performance unfolding on the pitch.

The local man sitting next to me, with his five children, one asleep, the others impeccably behaved, bemoaned the fact that the Qatari team, with its access to vast resources, was being outplayed by the relatively impoverished Uzbeks.

Money can't buy you everything. It can get you a respected French coach, tempt an Ecuadorian and a Brazilian to take up citizenship and pull on the Qatar shirt but it can't compensate for the fact that this is a country with a small population and therefore, a limited talent pool.

The academy will clearly make the best of the human resources it has and there are some promising players but there's a mountain to climb if the hosts are to make it out of the group stage or even avoid humiliation in 2022.

At 2-0 down and well beaten after 75 minutes, most of the locals had seen enough, and voted with their feet.

My friend with the children predicted no-one will show up for Qatar's next group game against China.

Those that do will have pleasant conditions for watching a match at this time of year. The temperature felt around 18 or 19 degrees, perfect for playing in, comfortable for watching, ideal for a major international football tournament.

In the summer, those sitting in the roofless open areas of the ground would fry in the 40 degrees of heat, or spend most of their time queuing at the overcrowded counters to buy water.

As thing stand, the plan for 2022 is to create a series of air-conditioned stadiums where it's a steady 26 degrees for players and spectators alike.

Fine if it's achievable and lovely once you're inside but that's assuming you make it without collapsing with heat exhaustion on the way in.

The option of holding the World Cup in January makes much more sense, leaving aside the obvious difficulties posed for the European leagues.

I'd be amazed if, once the 2022 World Cup committee is constituted, they don't put in a request to Fifa for permission to reschedule - and then spend the next 11 years building a team, rather than a series of monuments to engineering ingenuity.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    As an expat living in Doha one of the most suprising thing is how little promotion there has been of the event. I don't know anyone who knew of the event until this week.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am not sure what henry1422 has been reading, but this is one of the fairest articles I have seen written on this subject. The facts are clear: With a citizen population of probably under 1m, in a country where it is too hot play for most of the year, how does Qatar expect to field a quality team by 2022? Their only options seems to be to "buy" footballing citizens from other countries - something I fully expect to see and which will only drive this whole farce further into incredulity. There was and is absolutely no logical reason for holding the world cup in Qatar whatever time of year. Clearly they just want to have it a trophy on their mantlepiece so they can brag to their neighbours in the UAE and others that they bought it first.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think these comments bear out what was written on another site by Dr Joel Rookwood who also attended the match. The level of football seems to have been very low indeed.

  • Comment number 6.

    Ignore your commentator No1. A nice piece Gordon. Telling it how it really is - and a lot to be said for sobriety in the stands!

  • Comment number 7.

    "With a citizen population of probably under 1m, in a country where it is too hot play for most of the year, how does Qatar expect to field a quality team by 2022?"

    I think that is part of the idea of hosting the world cup there, to promote the sport and improve the standing of football there. There bid was just as deserving as any others. Look at Uruguay a smal population of around 3 million consistantly produces good players.

  • Comment number 8.

    To Czechmate... i really wonder what planet you're on.

    Correct - the point is to promote the sport and improve the standing of football. But tell me, is it better to promote the sport in a country with a population of approx 900k, and to the probable detrement not just of all those that might go to play and watch the tournament, but also everyone else involved in the sport at home when the "winter break" is announced. And not just in the UK. And not just those involved with the sport, but the bars, restaurants, street vendors, hotels, bus and train companies that service tens of thousands of fans each weekend.

    Or should Sepp Blatter and his cronies not have sought to promote the sport in a Continent (not merely a country) with a population of 22 million as Australia has.

    I should state categorically that I have no issue with Russia getting the 2018 tournament over England (my issue is that England were led on. The bid team should sue FIFA for the monies spent as they never had any chance of winning). The big issue for me is Austrialia losing out to Qatar... that, in my opinion, was the big failing. For that Blatter and all voting Judges should be sacked for bringing the game into disrepute.

    BUT THEN AGAIN, Oil has caused international wars over previous years... should we be so surprised it has led to a handful of ex-footballers being allegedly bought to vote for Qatar?

  • Comment number 9.

    Qatar winning the World Cup bid is just as daft as giving them the Winter Olympics.

  • Comment number 10.

    That was my first thought when I learned Qatar had won the hosting rights; I've never even heard of any Qatari footballers. Ali al-Habsi is Omani, and there are a fair few Israelis around, but that's the closest I can get. Have Qatar ever qualified for a major tournament before? World Cup, Asian Cup, anything?

    South Africa have already become the first host nation to drop out in the first round. Maybe FIFA's just looking to make them feel less lonely?

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    on the subject of country size there have been other small countries who have managed to field teams that can compete eg montenegro with population of about 700,000 drawing with england and beating wales, switzerland and bulgaria to top the group. The best has to be liechtensteins team that drew 2-2 with portugal..coming from a pool of about 30,000! Qatar can certainly improve vastly over 10 years..the key is facilities and coaches.

  • Comment number 13.

    The entire reason for granting the World Cup to Qatar is to promote Football across the whole middle east, not just Qatar. Other than Saudi Arabia no other country in the region has a consistently achieving team.

  • Comment number 14.

    @2 - The AFC have an annoying habit of passing this tournament around like a stinky nappy. Nobody really wants to host the event. The only real highlight is that it gives the winners the chance of playing in the Confed cup.

    Qatar won the process by default after India pulled out and Iran couldn't pull the bid out in time. In 2007, the tournament was split between four nations because not even two of them could agree to host the tournament on their own - which for countries like Thailand and Indonesia was ludicrous. For the next incarnation in 2015, it seems Australia have won the bid, again purely through default due to nobody else stumping up the resources and effort. When the tournament was last held in this region it was awfully attended apart from the final and whenever the host team played (who were Lebanon.) Although, I would contest that the start of the second intifada didn't exactly persuade foreign fans to make the trip.

    Qatar's support has always been suspect. Even during the World Cup qualifiers they were drawing around 6 to 7,000 on average. Australia oth, drew 70,000 fans for a completely meaningless final match against Japan.

    Finally Gordon, I think you'll find that Sebastián Soria is originally Uruguyan and NOT Ecuadorian. Its also worth noting that they had a Palestinian, a Ghanaian and a Senegalese on the pitch today to go with their two South Americans. Its good to see they are employing the AFC rule of no more than 5 foreigners on the pitch at any one time.

  • Comment number 15.

    This raises some good issues in regard to how successful a World Cup would be in a country so lacking in footballing history, grace and interest. Subsequently, it appears it won't be a good one.

  • Comment number 16.

    Interesting blog.

    But I have an honest question:

    Were women seated around/with you? If not, where were they seated? Or were there none in the ground as far as you could tell?

  • Comment number 17.

    No need to worry about Qatar's team for 2022. By then, FIFA will have sanctioned Brazilian and Argentinian Nationals onto the Qatari team for the tournament.

  • Comment number 18.

    Having read the article and comments I too have to say I oppose Qatar hosting the World Cup. I have found the images and videos of what the stadiums do look like and I have to admit they would be brilliant if they are pulled off, but there is no logic to the decision to let them host it. The population is the size of my county, they say it will develop alot by 2022 but saying that nearly all of the population would be ex-pats anyway!

    It seems to me that the football side of things weren't even considered, surely to earn the right to host a World Cup you must have atleast qualified for a WC before and be above a particular number in the rankings system, and have a fully fledged league up and running.

    To me, the best bid would have been Australia's, it advertises football to the Oceana region as well as the Asian region, plus they have the ameneties of holding any sort of event which they have proved many times.

  • Comment number 19.

    No alcohol, women will have to 'cover up', worst world cup ever.

  • Comment number 20.

    @17 - Fifa introduced a rule that a naturalised player must have had 5 year's residence at zed country before he (or she) can play for that country. Singapore got the shaft of this when they fielded a Chinese player named Qiu Li in World Cup qualifiers against Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia. But of course, Fifa never retroactively enforced this rule before the date it was enforced meaning that Qatar could carry on playing their African and South Americans who did not adhere to the 5 year residency rule for naturalized players seeing as they made their debut before May 2008.

    This of course despite the fact that Qiu Li had actually played internationally for Singapore in a Fifa recognised match against Bahrain two days before the new ruling was passed. Ironically a week after this motion, Uruguyan born Sebastián Soria who had spent less time in his adopted country than Qiu Li did, scored the winner against China in Tianjin.

  • Comment number 21.

    I don't see the problem with hosting the world cup in Qatar. Alot of people who have blogged here have probably never been so surely they can't be in a position to judge.
    I have been to Qatar and went to watch some games for the Asian Gulf cup tournament and i thought the atmosphere was good, the facilities were good and getting too and from the stadium wasn't an issue.
    Qatar doesnt need public transport as the country is so small you can jump in a taxi to go anywhere at very little cost.
    The Qatari's know how to put on a show and i think once people have been to the competition in 2022, they will be impressed with the overall experience.
    In relation to moving it to the winter, this is probably a good idea. I went out on a December and it was still 25 degrees every day so that argument makes sense.
    With the amount of ex-pats out there, they already know about western culture and what they want and expect so i'm sure by that time they will have facilities to meet the needs of these people however they do have strict laws on anti-social behaviour but they don't experience it as much because of the laws surrounding alcohol but because we are westerners, we need alcohol to have a good time.....
    Give Qatar a chance. With the money they have, we can all expect a fantastic show. By 2022, Qatar will have a decent team however the probability is that most of them won't have been born in Qatar but who cares about that. Plenty of countries play players from other nations in their team.

  • Comment number 22.

    This all looks lika a pharse. Quatar was already choosen as a venue for the 2022 World Cup and the procedure was just a ritual or as I call it a pharse, a way of making money for some and making we the grassroots believe the game is fair and square. How wrong we got it! All I ask for is transparency and accountability, something FIFA seem to not have. My recommendation is to make quits with the current FIFA leadership and make true changes in this organisation.

  • Comment number 23.

    comment no. 10 Quatar have never qualified for a wc but 7 asia cups but that is not much of an accolade with 16 out of 28/30 teams most like cambodia and hong kong who a the asian equivilent of andora. only one player plays outside the national league(egypt).

    so why let them host the world cup where as australia have an established wc record most of their players in the best leagues in the world.
    also they have never hosted the wc and would bring the wc to asia as well as oceaniana.

    i just hope fifa come to their sences and dont award the next world to somewhere like greenland( sorry for the outlandish suggestion but its exactly what fifa might just do)

  • Comment number 24.

    Point 16 is a good one. Can we have some feedback on that please? Will Arabic women be attending? Will Western women be free to dress as they please?
    And for what it's worth I totally agree that FIFA officials should be sacked. Absolutely ridiculous. Is there any way on earth that can really happen or do we have to wait for Sepp to die of old age?

  • Comment number 25.

    Firstly to those who have said that 2022 was bought with oil money -yes you are right, but so was 2018! Did you not see the sumg self-important grin on the Chelski owners face when it was announced?

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    As has been said before the quality of football has very little to do with the population size as a whole but instead it is the passion for the sport that really matters and creates talented players. What angers me most about Qatar being awarded the 2022 world cup is that the country is quite clearly not that bothered about it because football really isnt big enough there, not even big enough for Emperor Blatter to claim that he is spreading football to a new area. Australia would have been a far better choice.

    Another problem will be the attendance of europeans, even with the difficulties for the teams it will provide much greater disruption for fans who ultimately just won't go because they won't be able to get the time off work. 2022 will hopefully be a watershed moment for fifa in the aftermath once they count up their commercial revenue and realise how little they have made in comparison to if they had taken it to Oz.

  • Comment number 28.

    Maybe it's time to have the World cup every 2 years instead of 4.
    Then as with the Olympics you could have alternating summer and winter games dependent on the climate of the bidding countries.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am really very amused by some of the thinking going on here. Let me start first with the issue of had England and Australia/United States had won the bid, it was all fair and square, but just because Qatar and Russia won them, it suddenly became corrupt? (I know some people here are now saying that they are happy with Russia winning the 2018 bid but i think just a month back, they were jumping up and down accusing the "Mafia State" of buying the votes)

    Going on now to the issue of non-participation in any previous World Cups. Switzerland 1954, Chile 1962 (previous appearances were just invites..they had not "qualified" to the competition) and Japan in 2002 (when the hosts were announced, Japan had never qualified to a World Cup) So not exactly a novel concept is it?

    All the talk about no alcohol, no freedom for women to wear what they want....we have seen this sort during the 2010 World Cup as well (with vuvuzela)I think the only sensible think that Blatter has said during his presidency...each country has its own customs and rules. Like the Nazi salute being illegal in Germany/Italy??? I am sure i can find long number of gestures/celebrations that are illegal in Britain? If you want others to respect and follow your rules and customs, then you too should respect and follow other country's rules and customs.

    Conceded that Qatar has a very poor team, but you dont have to look far to find what a World Cup does to a country. South Korea prior to 2002 were at the most, just a regional giants. However they made it all the way to the semi finals in 2002 while Japan qualified out of their group. Both the teams since then are on par with Mexico or United States or even Uruguay or Chile with at least a place in knockout stage being viewed as being on par with their abilities.

    There are still 12 years to go before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar and i think there is lot of time for them to improve. And regarding citizens from other countries playing for Qatar, i dont know how much you know about your football but there are lot of players currently playing for their adopted countries. Some of the big name players that come to mind...Deco, Miroslav Klose, Lucas Podolski.....And let us not forget about Kevin Petersen, Andrew Strauss, Matt Prior, Jonathan Trott, Monty Panesar (the list goes on !!!!) without whom England would have struggled to "retain" their Ashes

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    Being an expat living and working in Qatar, I can fully appreciate the scepticism of the fans back in the UK - especailly after england failed with their bid for 2018.
    Let's keep it simple. Yes it will be horrible and hot in June and July 2022 if the timing stays the same, but we have been there before in USA and Mexico. Did they have a/c in ther stadiums - probably not.
    Things will change massively in 11 years and there will be many warm up events every year until the big kick off. Already they are masters at staging sporting events and the facilities are some of the best I have seen. Yes Qatar has plenty of money and are not afraid to spend it either. Yes they have a rubbish football team, but it's not about that and in 11 years time, they will be better - but who cares?
    Let's just see what happens. This country is ambitious and driven and they are absolutely bonkers about football -even if they don't turn out to watch the games. The international fans will fill the stadiums as they do everywhere else. The Asian Cup is on now and the crowds will be low for reasons such as - 4.15pm Kick Offs, when expats are working and only Qatari's can attend, many of teams are not a big draw, although South Korea, Japan and Australia are here. I am expecting a massive culture change for 2022 - there has to be. I am sure people will change their minds as we get closer to 2022. Everybody now knows where Qatar is and I am sure the UK press will be keep one eye developments. Exciting times to be here.

  • Comment number 32.

    Nice blog Gordon. I am eagerly waiting to watch Bob Houghton's upcoming men in blue. They have done a lot of preparatory work in Portugal, the Middle East and back home. Good luck to Baichung Bhutia and his boys.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 33.

    For those who are concerned, yes Qatari women do attend the matches and they normally wear traditional dress just as they do everywhere else. Expat women dress how they like, within reason.

    For the person complaining that most Europeans wont go because it's inconvenient, I'm not sure how you square that off with wanting Australia to host? It takes 7 hours from Manchester to Doha and there's 3 hours time difference (2 in summer) for the TV scheduling.

    The heat in summer is a problem and air conditioned stadiums will only partly solve the issue because getting into the stadium will be the killer. However it's similar temperatures to Dallas which hosted world cup games in 1994 so it's not new ground. But a winter world cup makes much more sense if it is to be staged in the Middle East as it's much more comfortable.

    Do I think it was the best choice? No, but the issues aren't insurmountable when you have enough cash to fix things.

  • Comment number 34.

    So why has my comment been removed? It had no swear words or offensive language, wasn't in any way racist, sexist, homophobic or anything else.

  • Comment number 35.

    #17 - "No need to worry about Qatar's team for 2022. By then, FIFA will have sanctioned Brazilian and Argentinian Nationals onto the Qatari team for the tournament. "

    Well, already the Brazilian national team is effectively owned by a Saudi company called Kentaro, which is why they play friendly matches all over the world, except in Brazil.

    Blatter and his cronies have already bundled through an entirely impractical and ridiculously expensive bid and then made a mockery of the whole bidding process by changing the requirements once this was done on the basis that it would be a better world cup.

    Of course, the next step will be to address the woeful state of the Qatar national team which they will argue will devalue the whole tournament if not addressed. It would not surprise me if Blatter et al's next rewriting of the rules will be to allow Kentaro to sell the Brazilian team to Qatar, in the same way premiership clubs are sold.

  • Comment number 36.

    All the talk about no alcohol, no freedom for women to wear what they want.... we have seen this sort during the 2010 World Cup as well with the vuvuzela


    Is that supposed to be a joke?

    Of course there's nothing at all wrong with Qatari women (and other arabic women) wearing traditional arabic clothes.

    But non-Arabic women rightly object to being told what to wear!!!

    To hold the WC ought in a country which will not allow women to drive a car, travel (without a man's permission), or to show any public affection is WRONG. Simple as that.

    The idea is to make the world a better place - through football - not support repressive regimes; Blatter and his cronies have made a terrible mistake to give this tournamnet to such a country!

  • Comment number 37.

    Post # 21 : " Give Qatar a chance. With the money they have, we can all expect a fantastic show. "

    I' m sure you are entirely right. But a World Cup should be about much more than just " a show ". The host nation should not be as inept as Qatar will inevitably be, nor should the tournament take place in winter, and I wonder what travelling fans will actually do outside of the games if they are there for any length of time. This is not xenophobia or ignorance, and everyone will be safe and warmly welcomed, but this part of the world - and I have spent a fair bit of time here - is not going to offer the diversity that other venues could provide.

  • Comment number 38.

    @36: The Midland 20 - So basically what you are saying is that the legal rules of a country should only be applicable to those who are residents of that country? And it is ok if a tourist comes in and does something illegal (which might be legal in his/her country) and claim that the country's government/rulers are repressive? So tomorrow if a non-German goes to Germany, hailing Hitler as the Savior and dishing out Nazi salutes left right and center should not be arrested for breaking the rules? And (assuming that you are English) if a French goes to your country, rents a car, and starts to drive on the right side of the road, he is not breaking any law?? For your sake i hope that you are not associated with any legal work.

    Of course i am not a Qatari so i dont know whether there is an actual law regarding this issue, but i dont think that ALL women in Qatar have to wear traditional Arabic dress. If you had watched the bidding process, then you would have seen that a couple of women with the Qatari contingent did wear western clothes. Or are you claiming that the ruling class in Qatar are some long lost relatives of Stalin? Did it even enter your mind that many women (not just Qatari) LIKE to and WILLINGLY wear Arabic dress? What is more likely to be against the law is wearing short clothes that barely cover the body. This is just a stereotypical view which is unfortunately held by a large section of the western world. And i am sure that by the time 2022 kicks in and seeing the vastly number of different cultures coming to their country, rules will be relaxed to a reasonable level with regards to PDA.

    I think most of the hue and cry has been about homosexuality being illegal in Qatar, but dont forget that homosexuality was illegal even in England when it hosted the World Cup back in 1966..or do you want to say that there were no homosexuals then??? Also when the World Cup was held in South Korea-Japan in 2002, homosexuality was illegal in South Korea? Or during the 1994 World Cup in the United States?

  • Comment number 39.

    @Midland 20: Do you even know for sure it is the law that women should quietly wear what they are told to in Qatar? Just found this in Wiki: "There are no laws preventing women from dressing how they like, provided they refrain from being provocative, as is expected of men as well"

  • Comment number 40.

    @Midland 20: Another one: "Women can legally drive in Qatar and there is a strong emphasis in equality and human rights brought by Qatar's National Human Rights Committee".

    Need to do your homework right before jumping to conclusions

  • Comment number 41.

    I have nothing against the Russian( my girlfriend is russian) people but in all this choosing we were virtually the top Candidate but IMHO all Blatter and his cohorts looked at was the Premier League they all despise for whatever reason and not the other Football League fans like me a North Ender travelled 3500 miles to watch us against Cardiff , also all the Hartlepool fans travelling down south or Yeovil up north, Rochdale , Notts County , Carlisle , Port Vale , Barnsley ,Donnie , Scunnie , Leicester , Norwich et al and all the non-leaguers ---millions of us that wouldn't "cross the street to watch Man U play--WE HAVE BEEN LET DOWN BY FIFA BECAUSE IN OUR LIFETIME WE WILL NEVER SEE A WORLD CUP COMPETITION IN OUR BELOVED COUNTRY !!!
    Blatter appears to be a politician trying to change countries using sport but maybe he has just this time jumped the gun and Oolie Honess in Germany recently stated that Europe should change the balance from this guy and all European Countries should form an alliance !
    Without doubt money is also playing a large part of decision making and you can draw your own conclusions on that , Qatar instead of Australia totally incredulous and a sick joke kick in the teeth to new emerging football nations further up the ladder than Qatar but not as rich !!!

    In conclusion I am bitter because I'm your average English football supporter , supporting my home town club when I get kicked in the stomach by some modern day football crusader without rhyme or reason ---Blatter you should've resigned after the NO GOAL us v Germnay saga and Argentina's non offside v Mexico , old outdated ideas in some areas of this fanatstic game and then outlandishly experimental in choosing hosts !!!
    Up the Lillywhites

  • Comment number 42.

    I know Qatar do wish to host the best world cup possible, but i can't help but feel like when you make a promise, you should deliver on it, and moving the World Cup to January is definitely a broken promise

    If there are not air-conditioned, covered stadiums in 2022, with a World Cup being played in June and July, then it is a total debacle to spend so long on the final presentation justifying why it is viable to have a world cup in June and July, to then have it changed after this is what promised, is just not right.

    I know a lot of us here in Oz are pretty sure we got duped, like you folks in the UK, and being honest, the English bid was the best by a mile, we just hated it because it was that good. It should never have been a contest

    Qatar will put on a great show, but even with the Asian Cup on now it seems like it will disappoint. Australia now have the 2015 tournament, and you can bet our public will get out for it, and make it a worthwhile event, it's just a shame we have to wait so long to prove (again!) why we can host big tournaments

  • Comment number 43.

    A lot of people are taking about best bid, best infrastructure etc etc. If that was the only criteria, then South Africa should have been given the next couple of World Cups, coz they already showed that they can host a successful tournament...what abt Germany, who held the 2006 World Cup. If those two are the only criteria, then maybe it should have been like the first three cricket World Cups that England had held...why go to other countries when you already have all the infrastructure in place??

    @42: Firstly, the problem here is not air conditioned stadium...they might very well achieve that. The problem here may be the heat which the fans from colder countries will find it difficult to bear (and before you say that FIFA should not have awarded the trophy to such places, please keep in mind that fans from hotter countries too will have trouble bearing with cold)

    But more importantly, have Qatar already made a request to move the World Cup to December? Last time i checked, it was just the media and Blatter speaking about this...something about innocent until proven guilty???

  • Comment number 44.

    Gordon, good article...

    As a side note, I would urge you to get down to the India v Australia game tomorrow if you havn't left town already.

    I managed to get the last of the few tickets still on sale and it would definitely give you a better atmosphere than that of the Qatar game! Can't wait.

    I really can't understand the bitterness of the others that leave posts pertaining to articles on Qatar 2022. There are a lot of people in the UK, that are coming over all "change adverse".

    People are complaining about the World Cup being played in Winter. Why not?!? It seems that the only justification behind people being against it is the sheer fact that it has never been done before. It could be revolutionary! Plus, it makes more sense. Domestic leagues will not be affected negatively one bit.

    Also, I'm quite confident in saying that no bribes were involved in Qatar winning the bid. Their bid makes more sense to FIFA than Australia because of the time differences... Aus made no commercial sense to them because of TV revenue

  • Comment number 45.

    First things first, since July 2010 I live in Dubai, but for 18 months prior to that I lived in Doha. Frankly, I am sick and tired of all the negativity surrounding Qatar's ability to successfully run a World Cup etc.

    Let me get one thing straight with you all, sure Qatar does have oil reserves but hardly sells any on because it keeps the majority for local sale. The major export from Qatar is LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) which it supplies worldwide, especially to the UK. So, they are ones producing the gas to keep you nice and warm this winter time.

    Sure the heat is high in the middle of Summer. But note one thing, the past two summers I worked in Qatar and the UAE in the middle of Ramadan, I wasn't like most other expats who want to go home. I wanted to experience life as it is here.

    The locals, they are friendly and easy-going. Sure you cannot talk to a local woman unless she speaks to you and that is a social thing. Woman are allowed to drive and they are not repressed. The Qataris are tolerant of other people and their beliefs.

    Sure, you cannot drink in public in Qatar, but it is not a dry country, and to be perfectly honest, it will be nice to see a dry World Cup because there are too few people who spoil it for the masses, like the so-called Brits Abroad syndrome when you go on your summer holidays.

    They do not want to host the World Cup as a case of one-upmanship against the UAE, they want to host it to be leader in Sports Development, hence the Aspire Project, and also in Promotion.

    All I can see are the positives and its a shame coming from the UK that being in Qatar made me the positive person I am. Because to be frank, all I ever see in the UK is doom and gloom.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    Why-oh-why --- typical ex-pat I find in KZ , UK is fantastic and passionate place especially regarding football , take off your rose tinted UAE/Qatar glassess and get real stop defending their archaic beliefs even having to say " the women can drive" is evidence that its not the place for a modern international ( including the westyern world )event !

    I live in Kazakhstan( Muslim country ) Oil Gas and every mineral under the sun , alcohol in abundance if you want it Chai:Tea is very popular though and I don't need to point out the rites of women !!!

    Australia for me every time especially after beating them in the Ashes !

    Nowt against Qatar but come on son World Cup nearly as bad as the Russian decision ( tongue in cheek )!see my post 41

    Up the Lillywhites ( PNE )

  • Comment number 48.

    KZ, please understand, I am not your typical expat. For a start I am not working in the Middle East to make a fast buck, I am here to work and here to learn something new.

    Have I said I am defending archaic beliefs, I think it's you that is belittling their beliefs. It has all the modernity it requires to host a world event.

    Thankfully they do not have any footballing history, because that is what holds In-ger-lund back, as well as my own club side Liverpool. They want the wider World to see the Middle East is about.

    Thankfully, in 18 months I have seen enough to know they will produce something magical in 11 years time...

  • Comment number 49.

    I lived in Qatar in late 90s for five years. Things have changed and for sure money or "gas" talks, because there is nothing else there and Qatar has shown that money makes people blind. They are developing like Dubai, but i think have learned lessons from them. History teaches us that great cities came and went, but to leave legacy its not just about big show off parties and buying(sportsman from other countries) the world. Good luck to them!

  • Comment number 50.

    Magical with no passion or crowds come on this is too quick to go to Qatar , Australia are further up the ladder and it is diluting a fantastic tournament , no you won't win me over I love different cultures we have here and maybe the Camel World cup polo/racing but not the greatest game in the world , Blatter is not a politician but he is acting like one !

    This will push to a Super League in Europe IMHO and the World Cup will become a nothing competition , much too quick for Blatter's early retiremnet !

    My son this is Football and I am grass routes PNE fan and deserve to see it here before Qatar I'm very sorry and all that but that is my fervent opinion and totally justifiable they should stick with the Asian cup !!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    Oh and by the way UAE/Qatar all use asian labour without much care for them , to build their empires through agencies that take passports off them and often don't pay them , I am not belittling their beliefs or their hypocracy when they visit London and other western cities .

    my-oh You have shown you are a person that is interested in archaic cultures and so am I but don't stay in that time warp the cities aiports may be modern but the thinking is archaic and needs modernisation also !

    Even in a very acceptable western style city I live in people still say don't listen to ex-pats because they are frightened of change but its not legislation as in Qatar still regarding women and alcohol , but do you think the hierarchy toe the line NO ! As with our politicians advocating state schools in Uk but send their kids to private !

    Certainly don't big Qatar up as some fantastic place , Australia yes !

  • Comment number 52.

    Malik, there is a huge difference between the UAE (Dubai specifically) and Qatar. Doha may be building great infrastructure etc, but it is on the back of money it earns not on borrowed money.

    KZ, how is it diluting a fantastic tournament by holding it in a country that is wanting to try and achieve possibilities for the whole Middle East region and not just for the country itself.

    Football is a world game, Qatar is a country - albeit small - of this blue marble and if it wants to play, then let it. How can it push for a Super League in Europe.

    You may think you deserve to see the World Cup in England as that is your wont. I was not bringing up England's bid, but I will. England was bidding for 2018 and did not win - Qatar was bidding for 2022 and did.

    They were two different bidding competitions, not one...!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    "Certainly don't big Qatar up as some fantastic place , Australia yes !"

    Two words - Indigenous Australians!

  • Comment number 54.

    Splatter! You'll do very well trying to be the man that solves the worlds problems through football. At least the people of Africa can visit the flat pack stadiums from Qatar, if only for a drink of clean water. Could it possibly have dawned on you that by holding the World Cup in an established nation where the costs are low and the profits are high that you could donate the profits to Oxfam Water Aid instead of trying to be the new Messiah!

  • Comment number 55.

    @kz: Are you going to bring in history/politics into football now? Let me remind you that England does not have a spotless reputation. What "modern" thinking are you talking about? And i never knew that one of the pre-conditions for a country to win the bid to hold a sporting event was that it should be a tourist paradise!!!

  • Comment number 56.

    I think most of the hue and cry has been about homosexuality being illegal in Qatar, but dont forget that homosexuality was illegal even in England when it hosted the World Cup back in 1966..or do you want to say that there were no homosexuals then??? Also when the World Cup was held in South Korea-Japan in 2002, homosexuality was illegal in South Korea? Or during the 1994 World Cup in the United States?


    So you are basically saying that Qatar is stuck in the 1960's? At least from a human rights pov. Wonderful...

    Homosexuality is not illegal in Korea or the US either. I think you should check your facts.

  • Comment number 57.

    This is an absolute farce! Even the notion of holding the World Cup in a place like Qatar is ludicrous. They have no footballing tradition, clearly only a passing interest in the game, the conditions are not conducive to playing during the summer. Why should the rest of the world have to bend over backwards so that Sepp Blatter gets his way? We, and I think I speak for 99% of REAL football fans, don't want to watch a world cup in Qatar, you may as well hold it in East Timor. When I say REAL fans, I mean people who have a real interest in the game, not pre-pubescent girls screaming for a Beckham or Ronaldo autograph.

    I think the established federations should splinter and let FIFA host its mickey mouse tournament with the likes of Sudan, Mongolia, Thailand, French Guyana and Afghanistan. If they want to spread the game around the world, let them do that, we can still watch the cricket.

  • Comment number 58.

    All of you barking about restrictions in Qatar, respect their social values or dont expect foreigners into your country to respect yours. Ohh i forgot, west doesnt have any social value!

  • Comment number 59.

    I don't care about social restrictions in Qatar, because I never intend to go there. Why would anyone want to visit an identikit place built on oil money in the middle of a desert, where you can't have a pint, converse with people on a common ground and constantly have to consider the archaic views of a tribal society?

  • Comment number 60.

    Well said Ahsan, I lioved in Qatar for 18 months and now moved to Dubai. The change is remarkable. Qatar is very progressive and spends its money wisely. Here in Dubai, it's build the biggest and best on loans, Qatar it's there own money!

    I am just thinking how much the UK can boycott Qatar because of their "social" restrictions. How about the UK's gas supply? How about not banking at Barclays?

    Stokerambo, it is not identikit. If you manage to look beyond your nose, you will see how diversified the place is. And if all you care about is having a pint, then what else can I say. You could always go and have shisa instead and enjoy their hospitality as opposed to force yours of them.

    And AGAIN I will stress, Qatar's economy is not built on oil, it is build on exports of LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) which 1/3 of the world's reserves lie within Qatar's natural borders - and not stealing other countries natural resources.

  • Comment number 61.

    The Midland 20 wrote:
    Of course there's nothing at all wrong with Qatari women (and other arabic women) wearing traditional arabic clothes.

    But non-Arabic women rightly object to being told what to wear!!!

    To hold the WC ought in a country which will not allow women to drive a car, travel (without a man's permission), or to show any public affection is WRONG. Simple as that.

    Non arabic women aren't told what to wear.

    Women are allowed to drive, though if you drove in Qatar you might wish they weren't allowed.

    Women can travel without a mans permission.

    Pretty much the only thing you got right in that posts is that no public affection is allowed.

    What is wrong is basing your arguments on completely incorrect assumptions.

    It's interesting that the people who complain the loudest about women being forced to cover up in the middle east are very often the ones who want to ban arab dress in the UK.

  • Comment number 62.

    Killjoys will have banned shisha smoking by then. By 2022 chanting will be banned for it may offend somebody.

  • Comment number 63.

    Gordon great article!

    What every successful world cup needs is a home nation to do well!
    I agree Qatar will struggle to form a good enough side to compete at the 2022 World Cup. This is similar to South Africa at the last World cup, luckily Ghana's success, kind of made up for this as they became the hope of Africa! Do Qatar have a Ghana?

    Also in response to a lot of the comments, I can't understand why people are still moaning about the decision. Ok it may not be favourable but it has happened and if England wants to win the 2022 World Cup we need to embrace it. The current style of English football won't be successful in Qatar, we need to adapt! Sam Allardyce's idea of playing youth football in the summer might be a good idea, young players playing in the heat could bring about a different style of football! Have a read of this blog post I came across, it really addreses the idea...

  • Comment number 64.

    'The option of holding the World Cup in January makes much more sense, leaving aside the obvious difficulties posed for the European leagues.'

    Why is everyone in the media apparently bending over and allowing FIFA to do whatever they like?

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    @ Post 56 - "So you are basically saying that Qatar is stuck in the 1960's? At least from a human rights pov. Wonderful...

    Homosexuality is not illegal in Korea or the US either. I think you should check your facts. "

    Now did i say that? Are you sure that you are not a politician in disguise? My point was that a successful World Cup was held in 1966 when homosexuality was not legal in the host country. Did any homosexuals face problems because of that? Let me give you your own advice. Check your facts. Homosexuality became legal in United States in 2003 and the World Cup was held there in 1994. So technically (and of course logically) when the World Cup was held in United States, homosexuality was not legal then. Ditto for South Korea where homosexuality had not yet become legal when the World Cup was held in 2002.

    Again, may be you need to follow your own advice, but as far as i was able to get some information (both from the internet and from my brother-in-law who constantly visits the country) Qatar is one of the most liberal countries in Middle East. There is no gender inequality, women are allowed to do what they want and allowed to wear what they want(of course within reasonable limits..which also is true in any country including UK) only public drinking is prohibited and the PDA law is not exactly very strict (that is you can hold hands with your wife) What more do you want?? a public communion in the main square???

    @Stokerambo: You need to grow up and realize that the stereotype that women in ALL Arabic countries have to clean their husband's feet by licking it...or cannot go outside until accompanied by at least 10 men is nothing by a stereotype

  • Comment number 67.

    If no public affection is allowed isn't that going to cause big problems for the footballers celebrating goals?

    One thing I like about a winter world cup is that England must have a great chance if they qualify, due to the fact we usually blame our eliminations on the long hard season our players have had, they should all be at their peak in January?

  • Comment number 68.

    To be honest, I think the best policy for such nations as are disgruntled by this ludicrous decision would be to boycott the damned thing. It's a joke, and an environmentally damaging one. Air conditioned stadia? In a world running short of oil? Do me a favour.

  • Comment number 69.

    @68: "It's a joke, and an environmentally damaging one. Air conditioned stadia? In a world running short of oil? Do me a favour."

    Another one jumping to conclusions. Do you even know about Qatar's bidding proposal?

    "The Air Conditioning in the stadiums for both the players and spectators will be solar powered, carbon neutral and provided by Arup of England."

    If the damage to environment is your major concern, you should be delighted that Qatar has won the bid since the damage that would have been caused if it was held in Australia or USA would have been far greater (England does not come here coz they were not bidding for 2022...though the same holds true for them as well)

  • Comment number 70.

    As always , utter disrespect for social customs for a country who aint western enough. No alcohol in public place ,no chance of vandalism . . what a disgrace of a country! Absolute rubbish . Just coz a country is not cool enough in summer doesn't mean it can't host a World Cup.Most European countries have almost one month winter break any ways. Why can't it be increased to 2 months for just one season 12 years from now? Oh wait, that would mean having to make some compromises , which aint in the dictionary of the English :S

  • Comment number 71.

    I suspect that most commenters on here are actually missing the point! Yes, I agree that FIFA has a responsibility to promote the game of football throughout the World, but it shouldn't be to the detriment of genuine existing fans.

    Let us consider this for a moment! I attended the World Cup in Germany and for the first week used camp site facilities, then used a B&B type facility before finally finishing in a 3* hotel! During our stay we explored the whole country of Germany, travelled back overland spending a few days in France and Holland and all in all had an absolutely awesome time, watched some incredible, well hosted and managed football, used a range of public transport, sampled different cultures, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole event!

    Now let us consider Qatar! At present there are very strict visa restrictions, very strict dress codes, very strict laws on elements such as holding hands in public, kissing in public, being under the influence of alcohol in public (I know it isn't the core thing here, but if I am going on holiday and waiting to watch an evening game I may fancy a few beers in my hotel before the game).

    More importantly, there is very little if any culture to see, certainly not 3-4 weeks worth. There is one major city (Doha) and the outlying areas are not even remotely equipped or even worth visting. There will be only one type of accomodation suitable for the vast majority of football fans and that will be 4* - 5* hotels! Qatar does not do bed and breakfast, hostels, 1* - 3* hotels! Even if it builds them there will be no bars, beaches or similar facilities. You can't sunbathe on public beaches remember!

    So where are the genuine football fans going to stay for the 2, 3, 4 weeks they are in Qatar! How many of us can actually afford 5* hotel rates, what are we all going to do during the day time / evening time, what are we going to see, experience, enjoy! You can only go racing 4X4's in the dunes so many times, you can only (and would only, trust me) want to ride a camel once, a souk is a souk, and you can visit everything in Qatar worth seeing in about 2 days maximum. You could walk up and down the Corniche (promenade) but come on, how many times!

    At this point people will start claiming that you can explore the wider Middle East! Really, each country regardless of whether it is in the GCC or just the UAE has a whole raft of visa restrictions and parameters. Each country bans whole populations on a whim just check the reports on the bans in place for single women travellers (those not accompanied by either a male relative or their husband) from places such as Indonesia, Thailand and so forth. Bahrain restricted access for russians and eastern europeans for almost 3 yrs (with professional exceptions). Oh and it doesn't mean it's easy if you are an Arab, Syrians, Palestinians and others have restrictions all across the Middle East.

    Homosexuality in any shape or form is strictly prohibited across the Middle East, Isreali's cannot travel freely through the region!

    This is maddness on so many levels!!!

    There will be no parties, no sunbathing, no open fan zones to have a beer and watch the game in, no groups of girl fans, (although I can guarantee that there will be hundreds of illegals smuggled in for prostitution as is the case in Dubai, Bahrain and others), no gay fans, nothing to see or do!!!!

    Be honest, regardless of nationality are you seriously telling me that Qatar offers the same multi-venue, multi-activity, flexible, culturally appealing holiday and sport attraction as Europe, Australia and so forth!! Well good luck, I hope you enjoy your 3-4 weeks watching the 2022 World Cup, although I'd put money on it being a total flop!

  • Comment number 72.

    @ Sharpehunter : You are absolutely right...someone is missing the main point...and no surprises but it is you!!!

    Let me start with what is your major point. Qatar has won the bid to host the football World Cup. Yes it is an added bonus (a very big added bonus) if fans can travel around the country when not jumping up and down the stadiums cheering on their teams. But the major point of consideration when awarding the right to host a tournament is whether that country is capable of hosting it rather than whether it is the preferred tourist spot for majority of the global population.

    Regarding your other problems (dress codes, holding hands in public, kissing in public, being under the influence of alcohol in public). Firstly let me ask you a question...were you planning to roam around the venues in your underwear? If so then you would be in a very big trouble, not only just in Qatar but anywhere in the civilized world. Unless roaming in underwear is your preferred dress code to watch games, there will be no problems. You can wear your western clothes or even what you would have worn if England had won the bid and believe me there will not be any knocks on your door late at night. While there are rules regarding drinking in public, there are no rules that drunks cannot go out on the roads (or in this case travel to stadiums) so there should not be any problems for you if you want to drink a few beers in your hotel.

    There are also no problems holding hands in public but yes if you are the exhibitionist kind, you are better off staying in your home (or in your park). I have no doubt that once 2022 kicks in, rules will be reasonably relaxed to accommodate different cultures.

    Regarding homosexuality, short of making it out with a boyfriend in full public view, there should be no problems coz there already have been 3-4 World Cups held in countries where homosexuality was not legal.

    Oh and that dig about illegals being smuggled...are you saying that there are no illegal prostitution rings in Europe or Australia (which incidentally is a country that has been in the news with regards to race issues)???

    So according to you, culturally appealing holiday represents roaming in bare minimum clothes, drunk and necking it out for all the others to see????? You have got big problems man!!!

  • Comment number 73.

    @ Lord Tingi

    You heard of apostacy?

    Illegal in Qatar (pretty severe form of punishment for it as well - look it up).

    That's a severe human rights issue that you won't find in any of the other countries that have held the World Cup.

    Coupled with all the other human rights that have been highlighted in these replies (homosexuality being illegal; appalling women's rights etc etc) - they make a damning case for Qatar not to have been awarded the World Cup.

    Qatar doesn't have just one or two instances of concern from a human rights issue - it has many.

    It's not a case of what's legal and considered fair or cultural in one country not being applied to another (like the absurd 'driving on the right / driving on the left' argument that was used) - these are basic human rights issues.

    Qatar was an appalling decision for a WC host country whichever way you look at it

  • Comment number 74.

    Post 72, Lord Tingi :

    Forget everything about drinking, clothing and bodily contact and focus on the main point that Sharpehunter made ( which was the same one I made earlier in the thread ) : What are tens of thousands of fans actually going to DO when they are not watching football ?

  • Comment number 75.

    why are people so low in their thinking? What is wrong in going to different part of the world and learning about their culture? Must westerners expect that other people are less comparable to them that their culture, weather, and way of life be on pause because they are coming around? Fifa, yes under Sepp Blater is doing what other sports leaders can only dream off; taking football to all corners of the globe, a feat even the so called mighty IOC cannot achieve. As football fans we should be proud of this.

    Hear in England, the teams we support have players from countries which their temperatures do not drop below 18C yet we cheer them when they play through winter in subzero temperatures (where coloured balls are used for better visibility), and through the holiday season, year in/year out, so what is so wrong i our players make the same sacrifice in a competition that is only held once in 4 years?. Its so funny cos we share fans with cricketers, and during the ashes series held here in the UK, temperatures average about 18C in the summer, while in Australia, the same players/ fans play the game in an average of 30C, yet we hear of no complaints in either the press/blogs.

    The world cup in Qatar is not just for Quataris alone, its for the entire middle east region, and i certainly welcome it. The middle east account for most of the energy used in the world today, so we should not be hesitant to give them something back. We pride ourselves here in the uk, as well as outher European countries about our stadias and so on, but we forget that energy used to power the good tv/radio broadcast, and ability to watch night games is only made possible by mostly the imported energy energy from other parts of the world, especially the mid east. We should be proud that Qatar has come of age to place a bid worth of winning the hosting rights, and should encourage the further spread of football across other regions.

    Australia's time will come to host the WC as it did when they hosted the olympics, the US hosted the WC not too long ago as well as both the Summer& winter olympics. Fans should not be too short sighted, South Africa lost the WC hosting rights to Germany in 2006 due to funny voting by a delegate, all in football/sports frowned at it and were rightfully reprieved when they got it in 2010. It wasn't all shambles as lesser people thought/hoped it would be.

    Give Qatar a chance. Football is for all, not a chosen select few

  • Comment number 76.

    @roy: So you are going to watch the World Cup in Qatar and after the group stages will you be suddenly converting to another religion? Because the point here is not whether there are human rights problems in Qatar or not...but whether the fans who travel to the country will face any legal problems. Non-muslims in Qatar do not face any kind of indiscrimination. In fact it is in Australia where in Asians are finding it difficult to co-exist with the community (and the problem is not just with the general population, but with the so-called law guardians as well...look it up) So it would have been alright for Asians to deal with problems while the rest of the world population would have enjoyed the game?

    Are you saying that there are no human rights violations in Australia..or United States...or even in the UK? That is a completely different topic and has no connection with football or why Qatar should not have been awarded the World Cup. And please do some research...there are NO restrictions with regards to fact Qatar has one of the most liberal laws regarding gender equality in the entire region. As i have already said twice before...homosexuality was illegal in at least three previous World Cups..England in 1966, United States in 1994 and South Korea in 2002...did they face any problems there?

    @sirrodneymarsh: Thats hardly FIFA or Blatter or Qatar's fault is it? They are putting up a football tournament, not offering tourist packages.

  • Comment number 77.

    Lord Tingi again :

    " Thats hardly FIFA or Blatter or Qatar's fault is it? They are putting up a football tournament, not offering tourist packages."

    I' m sorry, but that is nonsense. Are you really saying that FIFA should be completely indifferent to the experience of fans in a major world tournament ?

    And understand : I am all for putting on the World Cup in countries / regions where it hasn' t been played before. I am saying that Qatar does not strike me as anywhere near as compelling as , say, South Korea/ Japan / South Africa, where fans could - and did - have a great experience.

  • Comment number 78.

    "The option of holding the World Cup in January makes much more sense, leaving aside the obvious difficulties posed for the European leagues."

    Yes, it does. But here's an idea that makes even more sense - don't have it in Qatar at all!!

    The World Cup is played in the European Summer and that's that. If the climate of a country isn't suitable during that time then they shouldn't be considered. There were plenty of other viable options which wouldn't have required a massive disruption to European football, but I guess their "brown envelopes" weren't big enough.

  • Comment number 79.

    I love the logic behind some of Lord Tingi`s arguments. "It was like that when the World Cup was in country X back in the year 19XX". See, so what would be the problem with holding the current World Cup in a country which is still as bad as country X was back in the 60`s. Heck, there was a nazi regime in Germany during Olympics and a fascist regime in Italy during a football World Cup, so we really should not bother, it can hardly get any worse. Anyway, luckily, this concerns merely the logic of your argument, not your point, where you are of course generally correct.

    Obviously, Qatar is neither fascist nor Nazi and happens to have a reputation of a very tolerant country. It might be good to point out that the gay laws are actually not all that enforced and there is little to no effort to jail gay people (which is very far from what some of us seem to expect). Alcohol is not "illegal" (and you can buy it), tho being drunk in public is an offense (not a crime, tho). Despite having the death penalty, the last execution in Qatar happened almost a decade ago. The laws concerning women are also very liberal by Gulf standars. Women wear traditional dress, but it is more due to choice or certain conservatism of the populace than due to law.

    So, the logic of the argument should be that Qatar is a pretty safe pace to go (certainly more so than Russia), rather than "Look, YOUR country was just as bad thirty years ago". The odds of kissing or drunk foreigners being harassed by police are actually lower than in Russia, where cops pick up on perplexed foreigners, looking for a bribe (talking from a personal experience). The reality is that Qatar is friendlier to foreigners than most countries in the world, and rather tham pushing for full law enformecment they give guilty foreigners the option to be expelled from the country. The last gay who got flogged in Qatar was also given this option, however, he refused, essentially choosing flogging instead. Not saying this is right, just saying that Qatar seems to hate scandals involving foreigners and the authorities would opt for a quiet solution whenever reasonably possible. It`s not dangerous, unless you are plain dumb or wish to make a political statement and refuse to submit.

    It may be a matter of principle to some, that they will not see a World Cup in a country which still has some "strange" laws in place, but the truth is there seems to be a genuine and fast progress towards religious and cultural tolerance. There even is a recently consecrated church, something hardly common in the Gulf and certainly unthinkable back in, say, 70`s. But if you will not be going to Qatar on principle, just remember to avoid Russia as well. And probably some places in the U.S. as well.

    I am pretty sure I will not go for different reasons. This is just not my idea of a World Cup experience of seeing stuff, hanging out with locals and drinking outside (NOT getting drunk). The idea of Qatar as a country that is more backwards, oppressive or generally nasty than 150 other countries is just wrong. I do believe it will be a dull, subdued World Cup that will not be worth witnessing, but I am convinced that it won`t be due to gay people being flogged, women being harassed for not wearing garbs nor for people just being drunk within reason.

  • Comment number 80.

    @sirrodneymarsh: You assumed what i am saying to be at the one end of the extreme (FIFA being indifferent to fans' experience) and let me say that you are going to the other extreme (FIFA should be putting up itineraries to make sure that fans are busy each and every day of the tournament)Do you mean to say that Qatar is nothing but Doha and desert? Have you checked whether that is true...that there are no places of interest in Qatar? There is a fort, there are museums, there are amusement parks (even an amusement island), there is shopping and there is the joy of just walking around a thriving city. Of course..if your definition of holiday is the same as that of sharpehunter...then you are better off staying in your home

  • Comment number 81.

    @aslongastheyqualify: Though i am happy that you understood/knew the point that i was trying to make, i am a bit disppointed that you were unable to understand completely what i wrote...

    Never said ""It was like that when the World Cup was in country X back in the year 19XX". See, so what would be the problem with holding the current World Cup in a country which is still as bad as country X was back in the 60`s"

    Some other guy jumped to the same conclusions..but if you had read and understood what i had would have got the point that i was trying to make...

    So what did i say??? "My point was that a successful World Cup was held in 1966 when homosexuality was not legal in the host country. Did any homosexuals face problems because of that?" May be i should have kept the sentences short and tried to explain in a more simple language :)

  • Comment number 82.

    @Lord Tingi wrote:

    One comment after another, after another, after another....

    Welcome to the Lord Tingi defends Qatar thread!!!

    Give it a rest m8.

  • Comment number 83.

    Holding the world cup on Qatar makes about as much sense as holding the world bog snorkeling championship on the moon.

  • Comment number 84.

    Tingi, frankly, I was just trying to help disperse the silly feeling that Qatar is horrible or dangerous or backwards, because it clearly isn`t. However, it is not terribly interesting, either. Heck, if I was doing a cruise in the Gulf, I`d stay for a day or two and visit your museum - but a World Cup?

    I have no idea by what you measure a good, or "succesful" World Cup. If it is by the number of people not jailed, or visitors not harassed, or women allowed to drive, I am positive that Qatar`s Cup will be just as successful as any of the previous ones was. I measure the atractiveness of a World Cup venue by the opportunities it gives me to experience diverse things - numerous local environments, various historical monuments, local people, all combined with a special spirit of "belonging". One is more than an ordinary tourist when in a country hosting the World Cup - but one is still a tourist and expects lots and lots of things to see an do.

    I understand you are saying that there essentially IS stuff to do in Qatar, but surely comparing it to Germany, or England, or Brazil, or South Africa is just comparing a packed skyscraper to a quaint anthill. I cannot believe that you said, in connection with the scale of sights expected of a World Cup venue, that there is "a museum" in Qatar. I bet there is a museum on the Isle of Man, as well as interesting local colour, yet still they don`t apply to host a World Cup. I`m oversimplyfying your post, but I hope you get what I mean.

    Many people may not mind. I actually think that if one`s idea of a World Cup experience is hanging in a bar watching the games, then watching one at the stadium, then going back to the bar, he`d feel all right in Qatar. But to me, it does not offer enough to make it a potentially "successful" World Cup. It`s not prejudice, I just cannot imagine keeping myself occupied there for three weeks. Watching the games on TV may not feel too different from other Cups, but actually going there for the full duration... surely, no. Simple demonstration: grab a tourist guide saying "Qatar". Done? Now, grab "Berlin" with your other hand. Compare. See? And that was just Berlin, not even all of Germany.

  • Comment number 85.

    7. At 1:30pm on 10 Jan 2011, sirrodneymarsh wrote:
    Lord Tingi again :

    " Thats hardly FIFA or Blatter or Qatar's fault is it? They are putting up a football tournament, not offering tourist packages."

    I' m sorry, but that is nonsense. Are you really saying that FIFA should be completely indifferent to the experience of fans in a major world tournament ?

    And understand : I am all for putting on the World Cup in countries / regions where it hasn' t been played before. I am saying that Qatar does not strike me as anywhere near as compelling as , say, South Korea/ Japan / South Africa, where fans could - and did - have a great experience.


    sirrodneymarsh Fifa has awarded the hosting rights to Qatar. Its up to the Qatari authorities to advertise whatever sites of attraction they want to publish for visiting fans to see/or not to see.

    Fifa's official concern ends with stadium, transport, hotel, security facilities for teams, officials and fans.

    Would you seriously say that England or Wales or Northern Ireland strike you like say, "South Korea/ Japan / South Africa" which you have quoted?
    Get real, every place is different and have their own unique identity.
    Some people go to the WC purely to watch the game, while others combine either business/leisure activities. Qatar will give to the fans what it has to offer, and not want you think you should get, cos if that is the case, you can as well watch the game from your TV/internet while praising the technological advances you have available to you, and let others buy the tickets to Qatar, and hopefully bask in the atmosphere that Qatar will be providing

  • Comment number 86.

    Okay, for the benefit of many who think that I am having a go at Qatar generally. I'm not and I have travelled, lived and worked there on multiple occasions so don't tell me I don't know what I'm talking about, I have worked with and for Qatar Petroleum, Rasgas and others.

    If you want somewhere to live and work and bring up your children in a safe, tolerant and multicultural environment then Qatar is a great choice, so is Oman and Bahrain and the UAE.

    However, if you want to take 4 weeks off work in January (which for most people is almost all their holiday entitlement), have the option of 4* - 5* hotels only (find me an alternative anywhere in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar)be limited to sunbathing and water sports only in specially designated areas, have nothing much to do during the day and or evening (depending when the games you which to watch are being played) once you have done the souk, done the 4X4's, done the endless shopping malls, done the camel rides what are you going to do?

    To prove my point visit the Qatar Tourism Authority website, or try and see the multitude of history, attractions, cultural treats and so on...

  • Comment number 87.

    @Lord Tingi

    "Do you mean to say that Qatar is nothing but Doha and desert? Have you checked whether that is true...that there are no places of interest in Qatar? There is a fort, there are museums, there are amusement parks (even an amusement island), there is shopping and there is the joy of just walking around a thriving city."

    Okay, and that compares to what exactly? A FORT????? Shopping??? An amusement park??? Are you having a laugh, how does that compare to the complexity of other proposed locations! Hmmm, lets think 4 weeks in Holland / Belgium! 4 weeks in Australia (1 week in Sydney, a week in Victoria, a week on the Gold Coast, a week in Adelaide or Brisbane), England - we have forts coming out of our ears, we have roman, norman, saxon, viking, forts, churches, cathedrals, we have mountains, lakes, vibrant cities, lush forest, vast national parks, world class art galleries, world class museums, world class theme parks, you can get from to every major city within 3hrs, we have the stadiums, the infrastructure, the history, the culinary and cultural delights and we all speak english which is lets be honest the language of business and tourism!

    Qatar doesn't even come close to 4 weeks in Australia, 4 weeks in mainland Europe or 4 weeks in Asia.. it has nothing, no history, no culture, everything it will have has been bought just like the World Cup and no doubt just like their team. They will do what Bahrain does and offer nationality and a waterfront marina property to anyone who is willing to sell their soul to them!

  • Comment number 88.

    I can't believe the arrogance and ignorance that abounds on these comments !

    Just to reply to a few...

    19. At 9:14pm on 08 Jan 2011, Being a Blade is tough wrote:
    No alcohol, women will have to 'cover up', worst world cup ever.


    Imagine a World Cup where you can't get irresponsibly drunk and spend your spare time ogling the local women ?!

    Whatever next ?!

    Socialising with other sets of fans without the need for alcohol ?

    Maybe some European fans will have to resort to making the football watching aspect their main priority of their travels... Incredibly enough.

    27. At 00:48am on 09 Jan 2011, Gallihore wrote:
    What angers me most about Qatar being awarded the 2022 world cup is that the country is quite clearly not that bothered about it because football really isnt big enough there

    In what way is football not ''big'' in Qatar ? Yet you're waxing lyrical about Australia, where ''soccer'' is probably struggling to make it in to the top 5 most popular sports in the country.

    I can assure you that football is far bigger in Qatar than it is in Australia.

    27. At 00:48am on 09 Jan 2011, Gallihore wrote:
    Another problem will be the attendance of europeans, even with the difficulties for the teams it will provide much greater disruption for fans who ultimately just won't go because they won't be able to get the time off work.

    I really am absolutely perplexed by this comment...

    In what way would people be more likely to get time off work if the World Cup was hosted in Australia, rather than Qatar ?

    I think that this is probably the most absurd point that I've ever seen on these blogs...

    ''Yeah, you can have a month off work travelling half way around the world to Australia; oh, hang on a minute, it's in Qatar; no, you can't have a month off work to travel on a mid-distance flight !''

    That is a truly bizarre and flummoxing point.

    36. At 10:05am on 09 Jan 2011, The Midland 20 wrote:
    But non-Arabic women rightly object to being told what to wear!!!

    Do some African tribesmen and tribeswomen ''rightly'' object to being told what to wear in Britain ?

    Considering that it's perfectly acceptable in many parts of the world to walk around with no clothes on, I'm wondering why you seem to think that it's ok for people to be told to cover up their body in Britain, yet it becomes a problem when people are told to cover up their body in Qatar ?!

  • Comment number 89.

    I live in Doha and have done for a few years. Most of what is written here by people claiming to know how things work in Qatar is nonsense. Women can wear what they like as long as it isn't obscene. Qatar has a population of under 300,000, that's a very small talent pool to call on. Football is no way a popular sport here, less than 300 fans turn up to league games, half of them are paid to be there. There isn't much to do here if you don't know people and it certainly isn't a holiday destination. As for organising a World Cup? They will employ qualified people from abroad to do it, they will make it look easy because they know what they're doing, then they'll give him a "shadow" who will be Qatari. After a year, they'll sack the expat and replace him with the Qatari, who will soon realise he has no idea what he's doing. They'll re-employ the expat on more money but a lesser position, he will report to the Qatari who replaced him but the Qatari will get all the credit for doing absolutely nothing. This is how it works here! Welcome to Qatar!

  • Comment number 90.

    I think it is too early to tell at the moment how well Qatar will do at the World Cup. Remember when England got the 2012 Olympic games and we didn't have many athletes who we thought could win gold. But then came Beijing, our best Olympics ever, and now we are confident of more medals to come. As for corruption, there is little doubt that there is some shady business in football, with all the money how could there not be. But until someone who is willing to change things gets into a position of power it will not happen, and with Blatter seemingly staying for another term, as is Platini at UEFA, it looks to be a long way off.

    On a side note, has anyone seen the groups for the Asian Cup? Group D is just the Axis of Evil put in one place, only Syria is missing. It's brilliant! Maybe it's a conspiracy for them all to get together and plot world domination.

  • Comment number 91.

    @Sharpehunter, roy,aslongastheyqualify etc etc: Even conceding that Qatar makes a poor tourist destination so it should be automatically disqualified from hosting the World Cup? Last time i checked, the FIFA officials inspecting prospective hosts check whether the countries are capable of hosting the tournament instead of making out a list of the number of interesting places to visit (personally i believe a place is as interesting as you make it out to be). Will be suggesting to Greece, Bahamas, Philippines, Egypt to bid for the next World Cup..hell they have got lots of places to visit!!!

    So first it was the heat, next it was the women and drinking and now it is what...the size of the lavatories?

  • Comment number 92.

    Surely if Blatter wanted to give football to the Arab world we would have chosen Morocco the chance in 2006 when it applied with SA, England and Germany.

    Oh wait hang on Morocco don't have lots of money...

    Lord Tring btw Panesar is born English, Strauss and Prior brought up English. A bit different so a Brazilian bloke who lives there for 2 weeks and is given a passport.

    So aside from the issue of women or gays not being allowed to move freely, no alcohol endorsements (good one for fifa to lose money) and the issue of Israel probably not being allowed into the country, It should be a good world cup, any thoughts on the rights given to the construction workers from the Indian subcontinent?

    Still least the 1 million people can get excited, they love sport unlike the Aussies.....massive LOL to FIFA once again!

  • Comment number 93.

    Lord Tingi do you have any citations for homosexuality being illegal in the USA in 1994 or even England in 1966?

    The world cup has sadly been losing prestige for a while now. I think that this will be a massive blow.
    I used to hate the way that the champions league was getting to be more important the world cup, now I just can't be bothered.

  • Comment number 94.

    What does a pilgrimage to the hajj and a family trip to the world cup finals have in common ???

    They are both no longer within the reach of a working class family and are both now becoming only available to a rich elite.

    I think most of the posts on here in defence of Qatar's bid come from people that are working there and earning wages in the upper bracket.

    is the world cup still accessable to the supporter from the terraces??

  • Comment number 95.

    @Squakis26 and Gelert66

    Both very perceptive comments.

    Gelert, you are absolutely spot on with your description of the way the Qatari's will set up their teams! I have witnessed this first hand personally and having dealt with an exceptional expat for 2yrs he was then replaced by a Qatari and the project virtually collapsed within 4mths.


    As you obviously know from experience across the Middle East extremely cheap labour is brought in from across the asian sub-continent and now also China. In Bahrain and Saudi the average terms of employment for a construction worker of indian, bangladeshi or similar origin is a 2yr contract, no holidays until they are accrued (12mths minimum), living in a labour camp, no spouses or family and generally provided with sweat water during the day, in Bahrain the average monthly wage is circa BD200 which is roughly US$500! Conditions are dreadful (I know because I've visited labour camps), safety is almost non-existent (well documented everywhere - just have a search) and they are basically treated like slave labour! The same applies in Qatar!

    But hey, as long as football is being presented to a wider audience who cares right!!!

  • Comment number 96.

    Well, I wish I could say reading all these comments was insightful... but at least now I can't make the same mistake as #89 who thinks the people who know Qatar are the one's criticising it, when in fact they are the one's defending it...!

    Also, #38 Lord Tingi - Don't worry mate, I can confirm that you're not going mad. There is at least one sane person who managed to read and understand the 'complex nature' of your comment about homosexuality. How people managed to twist your well researched piece into something critical about Qatar is rather amusing, since you actually offered a very valid defense!

    #23 - I know you were only trying to make a funny, but Greenland (to the best of my limited knowledge) are not a FIFA member and therefore could not host a World Cup. Might I suggest the Faroe Islands as an equally amusing alternative?

    #77 - FIFA are very clear on the criteria they 'study' when choosing hosts. The countrie's tourist attractions are not considered for one very simple reason. FIFA do not care about the people that actually go to the tournament and fill the stadiums, as long as they DO go and fill them and there are no 'incidents' concering safety. It is for the host to market their Country and take advantage of the fans being there and milk them for every last penny. FIFA are already paid in advance!

    #63 - In response to your Ghana query, here's a few possibilities. Iraq - they won the Asian Cup despite being war torn. Maybe they could progress in a World Cup too? Saudi Arabia - pretty obvious choice as they are the most experienced of all candidates in the region. Egypt - I know they are in a different confederation, but they're in the same corner of the world and are long overdue a World Cup run / qualification. Israel - I doubt they'd do very well, but I'd love to see an Iran Vs Israel match.

    Now to stoke the fire a little bit, here are my limited observations of Qatar 2011.

    - The AFC website is updated very sporadically with results and news. The Syria Saudi Arabia group match result was not published for almost 24 hours. This is the official website of the Asian Football Confederation. May seem petty, but imagine logging onto the World Cup website and not seeing any results until 24 hours later? or onto UEFA and not knowing the Champions League draw?
    - South Korea Vs Australia still has tickets available for just £7 on the half way line. Is this not, arguably, the biggest group match of the entire tournament? They can't even shift tickets at £7 for this match?
    - Matches are kicking off at 1:15pm and 4:15pm UK time. This one is peculiar. I know Asian football struggles in Europe, but this is like the AFC are saying "we give up, Europe has no audience at all". What an opportunity Qatar 2011 was to try and turn it around, given the +3 time difference?
    - Qatar have done little or no PR work to promote the tournament in Asia or Europe. I bet the AFC are angry about, given the free publicity Qatar received winning the right to host the World Cup in 2022. It could have generated a decent amount of interest in the Asian Cup.
    - Why do the BBC secure highlights and live coverage of later stages of the African Cup of Nations but not for the Asian Cup? This is not a dig at the BBC. It;s a dig at the AFC.

  • Comment number 97.

    It appears that everyone is arguing the case on a regional basis. Are we not meant to treat the World Cup as a Global event. As such the tournament should be held in a Country where people can meet are share their cultures, without fear of disrespecting the culture of the holding Country itself.
    If a Country bids to hold a world cup - i feel they are opening their arms to the world, and therefore should be willing to accept that the world may not share their beliefs.
    A very large part of the footballing world associates a social drink with watching a match. If this is something that Quatar does not accept, then they are niave for making a bid, and Seth Platter like wise for accpeting it.

  • Comment number 98.

    It beggars belief that Qatar would be allowed to bid on the basis of a summer World Cup with air-conditioned stadiums and then be allowed to switch to hosting it in the winter.

    The World Cup tournament will last for a month and teams will want at least a couple of weeks prior to the tournament to assemble their squads and play practice matches. To accommodate that, the domestic leagues would presumably have to extend their seasons by a month and a half and players would then have to go straight into the next season without any summer break. In the UK, if we were to get a cold November (as per 2010) or February, then things would get really chaotic!

    However, one can't be totally surprised at FIFA's behaviour given that this is the organisation that steadfastly refuses to embrace technology and has said that all Northern Irish players can be poached by the Republic of Ireland!

  • Comment number 99.

    I think the whole debate on Qatar, and Russia, is, sadly, money. FIFA, and particularly Blatter, have eschewed countries with a football-rich heritage, a proud tradition in the game and genuine passion for glittering new hotels, one-use stadia and enormous sponsorship deals. Brazil- good choice, football mad. South Africa- emerging, accessible, enthusiastic. Qatar- apathetic. Russia- remains to be seen. England, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Holland, just not glamorous or rich enough- they don't have the commercial appeal that FIFA want. Full stadiums and roaring fans are not what the governing body want- they want pristine pitches, rich people in the VIP boxes and international corporations spending billions on sponsorship, the football is just a means to an end.

  • Comment number 100.

    I can just see it. Jan 4th 2022. David Beckham's England side lose 1-0 and go out in the first round to a last minute goal from Qatr scored from a mad free kick gifted by elder statesman Jack Wilshire who was winning his 300'th cap for England. The FA chaired by Sir Avram Grant promise an immediate enquiry following Englands similar exit 4 years ago at the same stage when they lost to the combined Korean team.


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