Why Blatter’s World Cup Expansion Is A Sham
We are about to head into an international week, a series of World Cup qualifiers from all over the World. Football lovers such as myself live for these types of tournaments, they are bigger than all the big leagues in Europe, because they generate interest from even the most indifferent of football supporters. I however, fear for the next few major world tournaments. FIFA and UEFA have clearly made some fundamental mistakes in selecting the hosts for the next few tournaments, and I can only hope that I’m proven to be wrong.
We just witnessed a wonderful EURO 2008 this year. It was a great spectacle, lots of goals, great matches, upsets and surprises. The best thing was that it was relatively incident free with regards to issues off the field. The tournament was conducted in a peaceful manner, and everyone, journalists, fans and players alike were satisified with “Swissaustria”. Fans travelled in numbers without any problems, and people watched around the world.
Everything was organised well and everybody involved could just focus on the football. This is the way it should be. Unfortunately, FIFA and UEFA clearly don’t believe in this philosophy. These governing bodies would much rather secure votes at the next election rather than pick adequate hosts for the big international tournaments.
Although they argue that picking developing countries as hosts is part of ‘spreading the game’, the idea is not practical. Even though this reasoning is in good intentions, if a country doesn’t have the facilities, or is unfit to host such tournaments, they simply shouldn’t host it, or else there may be grave consequences.
Over the past few weeks, both the FIFA president and UEFA president have cast severe doubt over the hosting of the next World Cup and EUROs respectively. Blatter has come out and said he has a “Plan B” for World Cup 2010. Ever since South Africa was given the hosting rights there were doubts, with good reason. I mean would YOU give the hosting rights to a country which has the highest AIDS rate, one of the highest crime rates (50,000 murders per year is only the start) and one of the highest poverty rates?
There are regular black outs in the country as well, due to lack of electricity supply, and the corruption, don’t even get me started. So what does this mean for the players and fans? Will the night matches be played in the dark? Will fans get mugged or killed while on tour? Can the players even guarantee their safety? Brazil, who will host in 2014, although a prosperous footballing nation, has similar problems in its country. Blatter is very insecure about South Africa.
Think about it, he’s said that there is a ‘Plan B’ for World Cup 2010, and that there has always been a Plan B for every World Cup. Why would he then, out of the blue just say there’s a ‘Plan B’ for South Africa, when he’s never mentioned such a thing before? He is obviously worried about South Africa’s progress. This could be a good thing however. Hopefully this is the kick in the pants South Africa needs to get their bloody act together.
Platini has also come out recently casting doubt over EURO 2012. There seems to be concerns over the stadiums themselves and the infrastructure and transport system. If the transports system is so bad, how can the players and fans travel, and if the stadiums can’t be completed on time, well then, we have a major problem then, needless to say.
More recently, the Polish government has intefered with the country’s FA. Under FIFA rules, a country’s government is not allowed to intefere with its football confederation. Poland now risks suspension from FIFA and UEFA. Needless to say, this is a major blow for the EURO 2012 bid.
What is wrong with these governing bodies? They pick inadequate hosts for these major international tournaments just because it will be “nice” to have developing footballing nations host a tournament for once. I suspect however, as well as this lame philosophy, there may be a deal or two being conducted during voting, with each delegate saying “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” so to speak, if you know what I mean. These hosts are being picked on a corrupt basis, without taking into account the people that matter, the players, and me and you, the fans.