as humans, we have this complex about how important we are in the world.
it’s hard for most people to swallow how insignificant they are in the big scheme of things. we live a very short amount of time when compared to the billions of years the universe has been around, and each of us is just one of the billions of humans that have ever lived on this planet.
many of us can’t stand the thought that after we and all of our friends and family die, we’re very likely never to be remembered. think of those billions of people who have lived throughout time and how few of them we actually still talk about today. that’s why we see people like kanye west, evil kenevil and rupaul, who, despite being extremely famous, still feel the need to be as outrageous and controversial as possible. humans will do anything to be remembered.
maybe that innate desire can help explain what exactly sepp blatter is trying to do.
as has long been known (and explained here for those unaware), blatter is a master politician. and like most career politicians, he also has left a lengthy trail of controversy along the way. so it wouldn’t be any stretch of the imagination to think that blatter has been almost directly responsible for the placements of not just two of the next three world cups (russia and qatar), but also three of the last five (usa, korea/japan and south africa).
(now as a side note, there is obviously some conjecture in the last sentence that i wrote above. i know that blatter was not president when the usa bid and korea/japan bid were selected in 1998 and 1996 respectively. however, prior to his controversial takeover in 2008, blatter had been working for fifa for 23 years in a number of high ranking positions. specifically, his role for the five straight tournaments before his presidency was CEO; that job entails overseeing the world cup.)
prior to his presidency, the world cup had only been held on three of the six habitable continents. in fact, of the 16 tournaments to that point, only six had been held outside europe. but including the seven tournaments held during and decided during his presidency, five will be held outside of europe. of those five, three were held/are being held on continents that have never before hosted.
perhaps what we’re seeing with blatter is him trying to make his mark on history. maybe his goal is leaving a legacy of “the man who brought the world cup to the rest of the world.” and it’s a very noble effort if that’s actually the case.
but blatter is also playing with fire with these decisions. there is a high potential for qatar 2022 and russia 2018 to blow up in his face if:
- either turns out to be a disastrous tournament (both have the great ability to do so), or
- any light is shed on the suspected shady dealings that brought qatar and russia their success.
russia has to build or rebuild every single stadium they intend to use for tournament, not to mention the billions that will need to be spent to sure up the massive country’s horrendous infrastructure. aside from host cities that will have multiple stadiums, the distances between host cities will make it nearly impossible for a county’s fans to follow them throughout the tournament.
qatar… well, where do we start. their team is currently ranked 113th in the world, and they’ve never qualified for a world cup (going all the way back to the original EA fifa soccer game in the mid 90’s, qatar were always the worst team). another drawback is that the country is situated in what we could consider a “hotbed” for hostile activity towards the west; good thing there won’t be any teams from the west, right? oh wait…
they have pledged self-sufficient air conditioned stadiums to protect players and fans from the expect 105°+ heat, despite having the highest CO2 output per capita in the world right now. recall that this cooling technology hasn’t yet been proven on a large scale, and they also have to go about building/rebuilding every stadium on their list too.
also, how can a nation of 1.7 million expect to handle an influx of a half million rabid fans? there are certainly logistical issues such as having enough hotel rooms, restaurants and manpower to accommodate them. not to mention that effectively all of these fans will be coming into just one city, doha.
oh yeah, and there’s this little issue of the quasi-illegality of alcohol in the country: there are only 4 places in the entire country to purchase it. good luck getting soccer fans to forgo drinking during the tournament in 2022. i also hope you’re not a fan of the hot south american and scandinavian females that support their teams at each world cup in agonizingly tiny outfits. thanks to strict religious laws, those “gifted” supporters will likely have to cover up. starting to sound like a buzz kill yet?
and that’s just addressing the first point. the second point has growing momentum in less than a week since the announcement, and this is where it’s beginning to look like blatter might have finally bitten off more than he can chew. in lieu of me writing every single allegation being hoisted up against the irregular bidding process, read this link (no, for real… READ IT) which does a great job of covering the myriad of accusations. while all of these can’t be true, it’s not improbable to think that many of them are.
and maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to award the tournament to the most corruption-prone candidates just after it was leaked that at least two of the executive committee members were selling their votes.
either way you look at it, blatter’s gamble at bringing the world cup to places anew is surely a risky bet. with many stating that sir sepp is gunning for a noble peace prize, the results of the bid decisions for 2018 and 2022 surely back that up. i get that thought process, but in my humble opinion it has more to do with padding his swiss bank account than it does to making sure he get’s a prize. regardless, he probably won’t ever face any punishment for it.
whatever the case may be, the legacy that blatter leaves behind is far from written. we’ve got just under 12 years to wait and see.