On the heels of the news that the 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar will be held in the winter, FIFA yesterday announced that Qatar has lost its hosting privileges for the 2021 Confederations Cup. The reason: because summers in Qatar reach an average of 100ºF (38ºC). This fact is something the entire world has known for YEARS, is the main reason for the 2022 World Cup’s switch to November and December, and is one of the main reasons the general soccer community was against having the World Cup in Qatar at all (that and the whole “slave laborers” thing).
However, once again, this decision to give the Confederations Cup to another nation is too little, too late for FIFA. For one, the fact that FIFA’s justification for moving the Confederations Cup due to Qatar’s inability to combat these insane summer temperatures almost five full years after just about everyone in the entire world began pointing out that hey, maybe a summer soccer tournament in a desert nation is a horrible idea, only further displays FIFA’s disconnect. In addition, the Confederations Cup serves as a type of “test-run” to see how the stadiums, infrastructure, and country in general can operate a huge soccer tournament so that they can make tweaks the next year before the actual World Cup. Qatar especially needs that opportunity, since so much of its infrastructure is new and was built especially for the World Cup. Personally, I’m nervous now for the World Cup to be more of a disaster without the test-run this tournament provides. Despite FIFA’s seemingly good intentions for taking the Confederations Cup away from Qatar, this move will ultimately end up creating more potential for catastrophes at the 2022 World Cup in the long run.
I think the biggest concern FIFA had and why the Confederations Cup was moved from Qatar was the scheduling. Clearly the air conditioned stadiums and cities plan has been proved relatively unfeasible at our current time. In order for Qatar to host the Confederations Cup, this would have meant that there would have had to have been another extended winter break. This would have really messed with many footballing calendars: including the end of the Champions League Group Stage and the Premier League.
What I’m confused about here is the very clear double standard that FIFA is placing between the Confederations Cup and the World Cup. With the exception of the tournament title, all other elements of these two tournaments would have been the same–right down to the stadium they’re being played in. If FIFA thought it made sense to move the World Cup to November, why not just shift the Confederations Cup back to the winter as well? I understand that this would cause scheduling conflicts with European club teams in the same way that the World Cup change will, but that seems a small price to pay for ensuring that Qatar is ready to host the World Cup in 2022. Do you know of any other differences that would make it impossible to hold the Confederations Cup during the winter?
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar proves to be controversial regardless of if it is in the summer or winter. On one hand, during the summer players and fans will be exposed to outrageous heat. On the other hand, if it is held during November/December, it will interfere with many league’s seasons, and many European leagues and teams will lose money.
I’m wondering how a winter World Cup could affect viewer ratings in the US because of the NFL season. More than 25 million Americans tuned into the World Cup 2014 Final, and tournament games averaged 4.5 million viewers. I’d hate to see a loss of growth in viewer ratings because the World Cup conflicts with the NFL season.
Dani I couldn’t agree with you more. FIFA clearly has a skewed agenda and they are crazy to believe hosting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is a good idea. I believe the motives behind the decision are most definitely political, although I am not exactly clear on the specifics. Something interesting to note, though, is that FIFA has suggested to possibly hold the World Cup in November/December of that year instead of having the event played during the scorching summer months. While this does seem like a solution to the problem, I think all of this controversy could’ve easily been avoided if FIFA was realistic in their host country decision.