Editorial
World Cup 2018 and 2022 - FIFA Corruption - Football Fans are the Losers
7:52 PM Sat 4th Dec, 2010 - Admin
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The biggest losers from FIFA's decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals to Russia and Qatar are football fans.

The shadowy FIFA executive has selected the two bidding hosts with the lowest technical scores from their own analysis. In other words, FIFA has selected the hosts with the least favourable facilities for football fans.

For 2018 FIFA had the option of selecting England, Spain/Portugal, Netherlands/Belgium and Russia. A World Cup in England or Spain/Portugal and, to a lesser extent, Netherlands/Belgium would have been a dream ticket for football fans. They are all very popular destinations in their own right, have substantial tourist and transport infrastructure and are amongst the safest locations on the planet.

The response from football fans to a World Cup in England or Spain and Portugal would have been similar to, if not greater than, the World Cup in Germany in 2006. The 2006 World Cup finals attracted 1.3 million foreign visitors. For Australia the 60,000 fans who flew to Germany for the 2006 World Cup was the largest ever movement of its civilian population in its history.

Controversially FIFA took the 2010 World Cup to South Africa. In its bidding documents South Africa projected it would receive 700,000 visitors. Subsequently this was reduced to 500,000 and then slashed to 370,000. In the end 270,000 foreign visitors attended the 2010 World Cup Finals - less than 20% of the number that attended Germany in 2006.

FIFA and South Africa have projected the 2010 World Cup tournament as as success. Logistically the tournament did go ahead without any material hitches however, in truth, the tournament was a comprehensive failure. The fans simply did not turn up.

Fast forward to the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia. How many football fans will head over to Russia? It would be reasonable to expect an improvement on visitor numbers on the very low levels set by South Africa however it will not be in the same ball park as would have been achieved had England or Spain/Portugal hosted the tournament.

Fast forward to the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar. This tournament will be effectively hosted in the middle of a desert with almost inhuman 50c temperatures. Who is going to make the long and expensive trip to Qatar to move between an air-conditioned stadium and an air-conditioned hotel room? There will be none of the public festivities that made Germany such a memorable World Cup finals - it is simply too hot in Qatar.

The truth is very few football fans will go the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar. In 12 years time football fans will have the choice of:
a)Watching the World Cup finals in air-conditioned stadiums then retreating to their air conditioned hotel rooms.
b)Watching the World Cup finals in the comfort of their air-conditioned lounge rooms, with family and friends, drinking cold beer without restriction and watching the game on their thin-film 3D television wall in super high definition.

Television technology is moving ahead quickly. By 2022 super high definition 3D television will be old hat. Television screens will probably be thin film technology and will cover the full wall of a lounge room. There is also the prospect that holographic television may be available in this time frame with this technology underpinning Japan's 2022 bid.

Qatar, with its hostile desert climate, with its lack of natural and cultural attractions, with its isolated location and with its self imposed behavioral restrictions is not an attractive destination for football fans. Most football fans will stay away and Qatar will struggle to achieve the visitor lows of South Africa 2010.

Qatar 2022 will be a bonanza for broadcasters who are arguably the most influential lobby group and the source of much of the alleged financial corruption within FIFA. Qatar's time zone is very favourable for the key television markets. Football fans will stay home boosting the number of television viewers. All the game locations will be in close proximity simplifying the television logistics. All the venues and supporting training facilities will be the equivalent of large air-conditioned television studios. The 2022 tournament will the first tournament truly designed for television.

The irony of it all is that many of the FIFA executive committee that selected Qatar wont be around in 2022 to see the outcome of their questionable decision making. Nor will these same unaccountable FIFA barons be concerned because by 2022 they will have had many years of enjoying the substantial sums they have been gifted.

The true owners of football are football fans. In awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals the FIFA executive have completely ignored the best interests of the true owners of the world game. Football fans are the big losers from these questionable decisions and it seems the big winners are the bank accounts of the FIFA executive committee members and FIFA itself.
Source: User Submission
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