Tuesday, 14 December 2010

World Cup Matters

In the aftermath of the World Cup decision, the Englandshire press have been having a wing-ding over FIFA corruption, and dismay that the 2018 finals were "awarded" to Russia. Some of us, not just in Scotland, were rather relieved at that decision for various reasons.

What slipped under the net, as it were, was a more shocking decision, and that was to award the 2022 finals to Qatar. One wonders what is behind the decision to hold the finals in a country where the July temperatures are not exactly designed to ensure beautiful fast-flowing football. That in itself is crazy.

However, there are cultural reasons that need to be addressed too. How are Qatar folks going to cope with hundreds of thousands of folk coming to their country in need of a pre-match bevvy? Where will they drown their sorrows? The strict anti-alcohol laws will surely need to be relaxed, although I wouldn't hold my breath on that outcome. Perhaps people will be less prone to travel, and we'll see the dreadful sight of half-empty stadia.

There is another issue that very few of us have considered, though, and that is the attitude to homosexuality, (it is illegal), and public displays of affection. The President of FIFA seems to be OK with that, though, having spouted, "I would say that 'they' should refrain from any sexual activities". Well that solves that problem Mr Blatter!

The question remains. Should we be awarding the World Cup, a truly magnificently inclusive celebration of football, to a country whose laws and attitudes are far from inclusive? Of course, by 2022 things may have changed, but then again, I'm not holding my breath.

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