We sent a man whose contribution to this year’s World Cup was for him to sit in a suit (encouraging gasps of unfulfilled wonder and demented fantasy from the female population), brow furrowed and kicking the odd water bottle in frustration, which in turn contributed the square root of ‘fuck all’ success on the pitch. Joining him was a balding, horse-faced, regal, death-monger that won’t be King of England for a good long while and David Cameron – C3PO made of ham – a politician that was not wholly victorious in his own election. Winners, one and all. What the hell did we expect? This was the big three to clinch it at the final bidding stage. Great job, guys. Thanks. Apparently they were, according to BBC News this morning, “lobbying until nearly midnight”. Whoop. Big bloody deal. Midnight? Jesus trumpet-blowing Christ. Goodness, someone get Billy W some jazz-salt, to get him through the night (and to potentially talk faster?).
There is only winner from this ridiculous circus, and that, as usual, is FIFA. Nice to see that the most corrupt and expensive country in Europe has obtained the most corrupt and expensive football tournament. The fact that Vladimir Putin decided not to go to Zurich to aid the lobbying process on his nation’s behalf, raises in one’s mind the possibility that he maybe, kinda, already knew the outcome……now, I know what you’re thinking: how can you be so cynical towards such an honest and transparent process? And therefore we can also scotch any possibilities that the Panorama documentary on Monday night was ‘wot lost it’ for us, nor the Sunday Times investigation last month. It didn’t – because it was a done deal – and if the English press or media has any finger on the public pulse rather than up its own blistered ringpiece, they should now be going to town on the Executive Committee’s ‘processes’, back-handers and junkets – a relentless quest to uncover every purchased and dirty vote, and the distribution of the FIFA wealth. There simply isn’t enough time to list the various charges of corruption that could be aimed at them.
The decision hasn’t left as bitter a taste in this mouth as I know it has in many others. In 8 or 12 years time, the tournament in its current format may be outdated and superseded by the technically superior UEFA Champions League – plus, the England team’s abject performances in South Africa, the reaction of certain players to the well-deserved criticism of paying fans, and the general apathy towards the spoilt bastard and WAG culture of footballers in general, means that the English public’s interest in the national team and this tournament may well decline. I am slightly disappointed that my children will not get to witness so many international games on their doorstep at a potentially pivotal time in their lives, but greasing the rails of Blatter’s gravy train and being buggered by the ‘FIFA Family’ does not appeal to me one iota – add the fact that by 2018, there will probably only be 100 tickets available to ‘real fans’ before the rest are swallowed up by sponsors, and it is going to have more of the atmosphere of a bad company’s Christmas party than the festival of football and fans that it should be.
And quite how Qatar got the 2022 tournament, well, I couldn’t possibly imagine. My misplaced understanding was that a host country needed to be just that – a country. Qatar is comparable in size geographically to Yorkshire, with similar approaches to cultural diversity. Indoor stadia and training facilities? For 32 teams? Of course you can. IT ISN’T BIG ENOUGH! A summer tournament when the temperature regularly sits over 45C, with no bacon to cook on the bonnets of 4x4s. Overhead images of the ‘fan zones’ are going to look like jigsaw puzzles of Swan Vesta matches. The organizational cluster-fuck of the Arab peninsula will revolve around the two most dreaded words in the ex-pat’s lexicon – “insha’allah”. Translated as “God willing”, it is the entire religion’s get-out-of-jail card, a catch-all phrase that blames it on the prophet if things don’t happen. Well, it didn’t happen for us. And that was down to a different profit altogether.