October 4th, 2013
03:21 PM ET

FIFA and 2022 World Cup: Five things we learnt

1. Politics is bigger than sport

Often this phrase is quoted in reverse given sport has proved more influential than politics on occasion; a ban on South African teams helped build momentum for the anti-Apartheid movement, for example.

However, the exposure of alleged abuse of workers in Qatar completely overshadowed the debate about moving the dates of the 2022 World Cup.

With lives on the line and international trade unions in full voice, the complaints from television rights holders and Europe's wealthy football leagues suddenly seemed petty.

An Olympics or football World Cup can be a catalyst for change but, in this instance, FIFA's Executive Committee (ExCo) needed to be reminded by the media to focus on the most serious issue of the Qatar World Cup.

2. Good governance is about good communication

The debate about the Qatar World Cup and its summer heat was a mess of FIFA's own making but the organisation has changed considerably from the one which made that decision back in 2010.

Since then, a handful of shady figures have left football's governing body and the rules have changed so that the ExCo will not have the final say on future host nations.

They will only draw up a shortlist for FIFA's Congress to vote on, which reduces the prospect of corruption.

Some will say there is no need for a consultation process before moving the dates of the 2022 World Cup, but FIFA must engage stakeholders as it continues its attempted transformation into a modern, accountable governing body.

3. Michel Platini is a show pony

On day one of FIFA's ExCo meeting, UEFA president Michel Platini - knowing the media were desperate for information after a day spent sitting outside - chose not to take the discreet underground route out of FIFA House on Thursday but instead wandered out of the front door, feigning surprise when he was then mobbed by the world's press.

Platini tried to sound annoyed and didn't make any comment of note but the smile on his face betrayed his love of the spotlight. Platini has delayed an announcement on whether he'll stand for the FIFA presidency in 2015.

4. FIFA does not help itself

Football's governing body is happy to have the media attend FIFA ExCo meetings. It provides reasonable facilities but a lack of communication to journalists leads to speculative guessing games.

Like a stubborn mule, FIFA digs in its heels and refuses to let its agenda be dictated to by the press. That may sound laudable but when it means beach soccer is discussed ahead of reports of workers dying in Qatar it makes the organisation look as out of touch as ever.

5. Blatter's the great survivor

Remember the names Jack Warner, Ricardo Teixeira, Chuck Blazer, Mohamed Bin Hammam? While many senior figures have left FIFA's ExCo under something of a cloud since the eyebrow raising decision in 2010 to award Qatar the World Cup, Blatter is still there leading the organisation.

And the president had a broad smile on his face at the end of a news conference that effectively announced nothing at all.

Worker conditions in Qatar will be addressed and the consultation process over changing the dates of the 2022 World Cup won't end for another year.

Either of those thorny topics might have unseated lesser administrators but Blatter's performance this week strengthens the suspicion that he'll seek re-election in FIFA's next Presidential campaign in 2015.

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Filed under:  Football
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Mario

    to hold the world cup in qatar was allready very strange decision,and holding it in summer?..really strange..stupid idea

    October 4, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  2. King

    1. Politics is bigger than sport, I aggre with this because that's the only reason that Republik of Kosovo hasn't been accepted from FIFA. Shame

    October 4, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  3. James

    Slave state! Let the slave masters play their own football. No World Cup in Qatar!

    October 4, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  4. Erica

    I am not a European or of European Descent. Why there is always contention when noneuropean countries is to host a worldsport, football, trackfield. IAAF was advised by a European delegate to remove the world junior games from Jamaica in 2002 because of the May 2002 flood. Delegate was looking for a replacement country when South Africa was to host the world cup. It was the nicest world cup and its the only world cup campaign that has a theme song that we can dance to. What would happen to players from the Caribbean, South America and African who has to participate in Moscow World Cup. I was told that even during the Russian winter is from September to June every year. Will michel platini give us an answer.

    October 4, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Reply
    • NSL

      With all due respect what happens in the IAAF has zero to do with FIFA. FIFA has shown itself to be completely independent of other world sports associations in almost everything they do, including their level of corruption.

      Frankly, I have significant misgivings about allowing Russia to host a world cup considering their record of religious and gender discrimination over the last 25 years or more, and recent laws they've enacted. As to the weather in Russia, I don't know where you get your information, but you might want a new source. Typically it's in the 70'sF during the day and mid 50'sF during the evening in the Moscow area in June. I've been there in June with the temperature in the low 90'sF. Moreover, the best players in the world, even from the island nations in CONCACAF are used to playing in lousy, cold, snowy weather, especially those who play in Europe and the US in professional leagues. Personally I've played in temperatures from 7F through 105F, in the rain, hail, and snow. In fact, I've played in two blizzards where they had to plow the field at half time. You've obviously never played professionally, or at a high amateur level, or you would know that running around for 90 minutes keeps the players darn warm. About the only people that get cold are the coaches and manager in the team areas along the touchline.

      As to the South Africa WC, I don't know where you got your information about it, but you might rethink your statements as once the Confederations Cup was played which had serious problems off the field, there were very good reasons to consider moving the WC from that country, but the SAWC organizing committee was well prepared with answers to the CC problems and when FIFA concluded its evaluation there was no doubt the WC would be held in SA in 2010.

      As to the theme song, frankly who cares.

      To be honest, generally your comments are so far off-base that it's clear you don't know what you're talking about.

      October 5, 2013 at 5:07 am | Reply
  5. Mahmoud Ahmed Elbota

    i think the are used their money to do whatever they want, but the world should teach them their is a human rights exist and they must be respected that, moreover i do not think this country is good to take the organization of this important tournament

    October 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  6. kupukupumu

    FIFA is...well....power tends to corrupt and FIFA is ultimate power....

    October 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  7. yubarajkarki

    Being a Nepalese and the story I heard form my friends who had lived in middle East (especially Quatar and Saudi) had nothing to say except sorrow story of working too hard for small amount of money. Neither there life worth nor their death matter for the Qatari government. These poor and uneducated people don't know their right and even their family donot get paid if they die in the work. Lot of company claim the death as natural reason due to heart failure so that they can escape from the liability of any compensation. Now, this modern country of slavery is really in shame due to the exposure of their behavior to the migrating worker by football politics.

    October 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  8. Dennis

    Qatar is a slave state just like the EU. There will be a massive backlash if they do indeed go ahead and let Qatar host.

    October 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  9. Nobel

    What did we learn about FIFA? Quite an easy answer: it is one of the most corrupt organizations in the world. Simple.

    October 4, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  10. NSL

    I for one will have nothing to do with the WC, including the upcoming one in Brazil, despite the fact that I support Brazil's WC, to keep the pressure on FIFA. Only constant enormous pressure to move the WC out of Qatar will move FIFA and Blatter to move it to another country.

    My voice is small, but if enough people in the Football world follow suit, FIFA will get the message that they can't keep conducting business as usual.

    While they have made some changes, the fact that the enormously corrupt Blatter is still in charge, the truth is. little has changed, and FIFA is still not worthy of support.

    October 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Reply
  11. Ertan

    FIFA is one of the most corrupt institutions in the world and must be restructured from top to toe....of course not by Platini 🙂

    October 4, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Reply
  12. Marc Silva

    There have been several crimes committed during this process. The biggest one, however, is NOT seeing this initially. The climate was an obvious red flag, and migrant worker's conditions were notoriously brutal in Qatar to anyone who bothered to pay attention. People like that were/are apparently in short supply at FIFA HQ, but they were well paid...

    October 4, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  13. oreste assereto

    I sill have to understand the logic of a world championship in Qatar. Do they pay football at all?
    I know that money is important , but only millionaires can go and watch the games under 44 Celsius in the open.
    These tournaments should be held in countries with a large crowd of fanatics. It is the circus of the Roman Times, and taking it away from the people is never a good idea.

    October 4, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  14. Dee

    You think this is bad, well at least they let you cameras into their county.

    If you want to prove a point try taking in cameras into Saudi Arabia. Its worse there.

    Its almost the same everywhere look at the U.A.E its the same. Shame.

    October 4, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Reply
    • NSL

      While you're right about Saudi Arabia, and many of the other regional Muslin countries, it's irrelevant, as only Qatar was chosen to host the WC. It should be immediately moved to a civilized country. I'm not Australian, but they would be a great host of the WC and frankly were cheated out of it when corrupt officials chose Qatar, so it should go to Australia.

      October 5, 2013 at 5:11 am | Reply
  15. rh

    We learned nothing new. Corruption reigns supreme, money reigns supreme. I would bet if you asked Qatar whether *they* would pick Qatar over other countries if it wasn't their own country, they would be "are you FREAKING kidding?".

    Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid. Not to mention that most folks in the world have kids in school in November, so they take the tournament from high tourism season to a most inconvenient time.

    October 5, 2013 at 12:00 am | Reply

    Reblogged this on .

    October 5, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  17. abreuisa

    Reblogueó esto en Isa Abreu Arguello.

    October 5, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  18. Western Boy

    Did you hear that a poet has been sentence to 15 years in prison for criticizing the Qatari KIng.

    October 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  19. Tuffymacca

    Typical ENGLISH Journos like Alex Thomas deriding & talking adversely of Joseph Sepp Blatter & FIFA..The UK Govt/Press/Media is still harbouring sour grapes from the failed 2018 Worldcup bid.The UK Media has declared war on FIFA promising to denigrate & bring down the Powerful FIFA Ex Co members.However so far they have dismally failed to pin down the FIFA Boss .It has been Dr Joseph Sepp Blatter`s desire to take Football to new Frontiers -SA2010, Russia 2018& Qatar 2022 much to the chagrin of the Powerful greedy Western Powers.When an Englishman Stanley Rous was at the helm of FIFA catering 4 the narrow interests of the Western Confederation, there were no problems at FIFA..Whether the UK Govt/Press/Media & Journos like it or not Dr Joseph Sepp Blatter will continue to be the most Powerful man in the Sporting World reigning supreme at the FIFA Glasshouse in Zurich& among the 209 FIFA Family.Longlive & long reign Dr Joseph Sepp Blatter !!.

    October 23, 2013 at 10:52 am | Reply
  20. MiNiMaTiC

    Get with the 21st century FIFA, soccer is the only sport that does not use technology that has been around for decades. We need goal line technology now! It would also be nice if penalty calls (FK & PK) which result in a stoppage of play could be reviewed by instant replay.

    October 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  21. Engr Obasuyi Michael

    Reblogged this on BlognetBase.

    December 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Reply

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