Here are some things you didn’t know: Qatar is hot. Summer is hot. Qatari summers are particularly hot. Not “away at Houston Dynamo in July” hot, but “someone might die out here today” hot. As such, playing important international soccer tournaments in Qatar in the summer is a bad idea. Mind blown, right?
The ever mindful FIFA may finally be ready to recognize this. First, came the “recommendation” (whatever that actually means) from a FIFA Task Force that the 2022 World Cup be played in November and December. No dates have been given, nor has there been an official decision to move the tournament. FIFA being the model of efficiency and sound judgement, there are innumerable number of layers of grimey bureaucracy this recommendation would have to sludge its way through before it actually means anything significant. However, that detail has not stopped rich people who hate change from getting in front of microphones and warning us that a disruption of the normal European calendar will lead to chaos, the Earth being thrown off its axis, and the planet we call home being flung into the sun.
The chairman of the European Club Association (and Bayern Munich), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, is looking at FIFA with his hands out. As he sees it, the only way to soothe the burn of a possible schedule change is with cool cash for the clubs who will be forced to bare the costs of temporal realignment. In the funniest display of tunnel-vision you’ll read this week, “a senior English football official”, jumping on Rummenigge’s back, had the nerve to cry poverty to the Daily Mail, saying “It just means the rich get richer while the Premier League clubs with fewer internationals will simply have to deal with the commercial impact of an eight-week break in the season.” That’s wonderful. It’s not even clear what that complaint is specifically addressing, but at no point can a Premier League representative be taken seriously when lamenting anything about a “commercial impact”.
Some outlets are reporting that FIFA does, in fact, plan to compensate these downtrodden Europen clubs. Gift baskets, filled with those flower-shaped fruit slices, croissants, exotic jams and possibly 135 million pounds is rumored to be on the way to the doorsteps of the continents biggest teams. After trying the raspberry jam with the croissants, they will all blow that money on whoever the 2022 version of David Luiz is and none of this will matter. The game will readjust to normalcy, flood waters will recede, and the birds will return, but not until we listen to complaints from the billionaire-adjascent for the next seven years.
In other “It’s hotter than Hell in Qatar” news, FIFA has announced that the 2021 Confederations Cup will not be hosted in the nation whose primary exports are oil and those swirly heat wave things that show up in photographs. Traditionally, the Confederations Cup — which features the champions from the six regional federations — takes place the year before a World Cup and is is hosted by the same nation, which also receives an invite to the tournament. There are a few ways to look at this:
- It’s a sign that FIFA have realized that soccer, summer and Qatar don’t mix. The 2022 World Cup will definitely be moved
- The Confederations Cup happens in the summer, so clubs are less concerned about where it takes place anyway
- Zzzzzzzz, the World Cup bidding process was ruled by bribery, FIFA is corrupt and Qatari officials are watching people die in the name of a fast buck. The World Cup is still happening there, regardless of the month, so who cares about any of these minor details?