Thursday, December 2, 2010

Qatar has disaster written all over it

The decision by FIFA to award the 2022 World Cup to the tiny country of Qatar is a curious one at best. This tiny oil-rich country nestled in the Middle East has many hurdles to overcome in order to make the event a success. Most notably is the intense heat. Some are predicting temperatures could reach as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit which would not only be a nightmare (not to mention dangerous) for fans in the stands, but almost impossible for players on the pitch to overcome. The Qatar contingency has noted that they will employ state-of-the-art technology to keep the outdoor stadiums cool during play, but the fact remains, for the majority of the matches, players and fans alike will be exposed to the desert sun.

As mentioned before, Qatar, like a lot of other Middle Eastern countries depends on oil for their economic success. Now, this may be far off in the distance where time is concerned, but aren’t we starting to see a shift globally from oil to alternative energy resources. Was it the best decision to award the world’s largest sporting event to a country that could see such a seismic economic shift in the next 20 years?

Lastly, who is going to want to attend this World Cup? Many are viewing this as a novelty pick by FIFA, with the underlying story being, uniting a region that has seen its share of strife. A worthy cause certainly, however, do you really see any westerners planning a trip to a region where they believe they could be a target of violence? Regardless of logistics and security employed, there are many who will not be able to overcome the mental hurdle of traveling to such a high profile event in the Middle East, where some radical group could be looking to make a statement on the world stage.

Logistically, this may be the most challenging undertaking for a sporting event ever. Those in Greece may argue with that, however, I’m sure many there would have told the Qatar contingency to yield to a country with the proven infrastructure and resources to put on such an event. I can’t wait for that 2030 U.S. or Australia World Cup.

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