It is unlikely to have escaped your notice that the 2022 World Cup has just begun. If this is producing unusual feelings within you, it’s possibly because this is the first time the World Cup is not taking place over the summer. This, in turn, is because this is the first time the World Cup has been hosted by a country in which the summertime is barely survivable by human beings.
Ever since Fifa awarded this tournament to Qatar in 2010, controversy has raged as to the ethics and practicability of this decision. Quite apart from Qatar’s less-than-football-friendly climate and somewhat spotted human rights record (in particular its vicious proscription of homosexuality), it was noted that the nation lacked much of the necessary infrastructure to stage such a tournament; specifically, it didn’t have anything like enough stadiums. What Qatar DOES have, of course, is an awful lot of money, not that anyone would be so base as to imply that this in any way influenced Fifa’s decision.
Well, 12 years later and Qatar has proved the naysayers wrong, by getting all those stadiums built on time, although in order to do so it appears to have resorted to the use of what, to the untrained eye, looked a lot like slave labour. This, combined with an apparent disregard for all notions of health and safety in the workplace, is alleged to have caused the deaths of perhaps thousands of migrant workers.
This has led many football fans to boycott the tournament, and has also given rise to the public shaming of a number of our own sporting legends, including David Beckham and the generally very right-on Gary Neville, for agreeing to participate in the tournament as brand ambassadors, commentators and the like.
We here at New European towers are keen to help Fifa avoid such embarrassment in the future, and with that in mind, here are… some places that would have been a better World Cup host nation than Qatar:
If small, wealthy countries with barely existent facilities are Fifa’s new “bag” World Cup-wise, then why not the dinky duchy itself? Its climate is a lot more conducive to soccer than Qatar’s and it’s due a break, being the only nation to have competed in the qualifying rounds of every World Cup but never make it to the finals.
Not only that, it already HAS a stadium – one, to be precise – so to get all the matches played, the tournament would have to go on for about two months. What football fan could ask for more?
The People’s Republic’s southern neighbours co-hosted the tournament with Japan just a few years ago, and as such would be on hand to provide some useful tips (since, one imagines, they’re on such good terms).
Hosting the tournament in North Korea would provide Fifa and their corporate sponsors with great opportunities to do all the things they really like (breaking into emerging markets, establishing unchallenged brand supremacy in new territories etc), without incurring the tedious necessity of actually playing the football matches themselves, since North Korea’s involvement would inevitably be contingent upon the home team being declared the winners before the tournament started, with Kim Jong-un running out on to an empty pitch to score all the goals himself.
If, like most of my generation, you were crushingly disappointed that the promise of the 1960s/70s moon missions was never followed up on, then awarding the World Cup to Mars might finally give the rocket science community the long-overdue kick in the pants needed to get them to pull their collective finger out and get us to the red planet.
If we can build habitable football stadiums in the scorching deserts of Qatar then building them in the comparatively temperate and hospitable deserts of Mars should be a doddle. Besides, Elon Musk is always going on about it being his destiny to get humans to Mars, and since by the time you read this he’ll have destroyed Twitter, he’ll be looking for other things to keep himself too busy to contemplate the bottomless, unfillable, swirling emptiness in his soul.
One does not simply walk into Mordor; there’s the qualifying rounds and a couple of friendlies first.
The orcs have already begun work on the magnificent Mount Doom Stadium. And who needs VAR when the Eye of Sauron sees all things?
POEM OF THE WEEK
The wall is finally cracking
In public you can hear
People saying the unsayable
“Brexit was a bad idea”.
On TV and in the papers
The consensus starts to break
They’re pondering aloud now
“Maybe Brexit’s a mistake”.
They say it matter-of-factly
With not a hint of shame
And doubtless it will be
Everyone else who is to blame.
But at last they’re starting to admit
What we knew to be true
It’s okay to say that Brexit
Was a stupid thing to do.