Just like looking at modern art some people take a little longer to see the picture in front of them, FIFA President Sepp Blatter would appear to be one such person.
When Qatar edged out bids from Australia, South Korea, Japan and the United States to host the 2022 World Cup immediately eyebrows were raised and questions were asked as to how Qatar could possibly host the tournament in the middle of Summer. The grounds on which all the bids were submitted were for the tournament to be played in June and July.
Blatter stood by the decision saying all would be fine, and that it was a fair process that saw the Gulf nation win hosting rights, he even said that the tournament would not be moved.
Now he has announced that the topic will be up for discussion at an executive committee meeting of FIFA in October. Just last wednesday Blatter stated that he did not believe that tournament should take place in the summer when temperatures reach up to 50 degrees.
Since the announcement that this would discussed in October FIFA has not surprisingly said they will not make any more statements on the issue until that time.
Having initially backed the proposed air-conditioned stadia powered by solar energy, and a bid backed by a US200billion budget Blatter has finally seen what everyone else saw within minutes of the announcement. “If this World Cup is to become a party for the people, you can’t play football in the summer. You can cool down the stadiums, but you can’t cool down the whole country.” Blatter said last week.
The biggest problem the FIFA Executive face with the issue of moving the tournament is the possibility that those countries who could host a Summer tournament and bid for one, will claim the election void, as the criteria under which they bid has changed, and the ability to move the tournament dates was never an option. With millions having been spent on the bids many will seek compensation from FIFA and may mount a joint legal case agains the game’s governing body.
FIFA however may be clever and offer those nations the chance to bid again for the 2022 World Cup, no doubt thus generating more revenue as countries vie for the rights. When Qatar won the 2022 hosting rights it was the first time that two host nations had been decided at the same time, cynics believed at the time that this was the only way that Mr Blatter could be sure of having the votes to remain as FIFA President for another term.
The question is, if the Executive decide to open the bid process again, how much will it cost the bidding nations and will Australia have the adequate funds to bid again? It is doubtful, after only picking up one vote that the Government will be so quick to hand over millions of dollars for the bid, a case of once bitten twice shy, but then again with an election around the corner and football the most participated game in Australia, who knows.