Skip to main content

This Week's Top Soccer Story: World Cup '22 to take place in November/December

This has been in the wind for a while, but FIFA just officially announced (or rather, "recommended", whatever) that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar be held in November and December instead of June and July, in order to avoid sweltering heat. Hey, I got an idea...how about, first off: NOT HOLDING IT IN QATAR. For that matter, how about not holding the World Cup in Russia in 2018?

Frankly neither location seems attractive. Russia for the political and military unrest that's always going on there, going on there now and that probably will still be in four years, Qatar for the human rights violations that have been committed in the building of its stadiums already, the fact that FIFA allegedly accepted bribes from the Qatari government, and the fact that...Qatar? It's a peninsula in the Persian Gulf the size of Connecticut. Is it soccer country? Do they even have a national team?  Put the goddam thing in a place people actually want to go. You've got all of Europe, the Americas, Asia, and you go to....Qatar? I don't know. Seems like a pretty sad money-grab by FIFA and the whole thing has been tainted since Qatar even made it's initial bid.

I can't see a positive spin on this. I was hoping to be able to go to a World Cup sometime in my lifetime. I'm not opposed to Russia, per se, but I'm not filled with a desire to visit. So that means I'm waiting until 2026, at least. Plus, with Qatar being 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, the earliest matches are going to be starting at 8:00pm. And if they play evening games, which they probably will because of the heat -- even in the winter -- forget it. World Cup might as well not even be happening as far as I'm concerned; it's like 2002 in Japan/South Korea or the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia; I'm sure everybody had a great time but I didn't see a minute of either.

Even on a purely objective level:
  • November/December World Cup completely throws a wrench into just about every major country's professional club schedule, not to mention that's when the MLS has their playoffs.
  • This means a major, major loss of ratings, sponsorship dollars, and ancillary profits like in bars, etc. in the Western Hemisphere. Watch and see if people throng the streets or flock to the bars at 3:00 am in D.C. on a Tuesday night to watch the USMNT play...in December.
Next to the Qatari Winter World Cup, Russia 2018 looks like the south of France. But...this train has left the station. It's happening. The good news is it's seven years away; a lot can happen in that time. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review #146: "Three Short Moments in a Long Life" by John L'Heureux

Issue: May 9, 2016

Story: "Three Short Moments in a Long Life" by John L'Heureux

Rating: $

Review: I feel like this is a somewhat tired technique, straight out of Creative Writing 101: write a story consisting of three or four different snapshots or snippets out of a character's life at different ages, sort of like a series of written photographs. Fun perhaps, but strikes me as a bit amateurish. However, I also think L'Heureux succeeds here by pushing it a bit further, playing with the character's tentative attempts at something close to faith -- in childish, adult, and mature adult ways -- and tying all three "Short Moments" together in a subtle and readily decipherable way.

L'Heureux's prose and his frank humor and his ability to glorify and find the meaning in the mundane events and thoughts of every day life, and thereby turn the life of an ordinary person into a drama with meaning and significance puts me in mind of John Irving. As well a…

New Yorker Fiction Review #151: "The Bog Girl" by Karen Russell

From the June 20 issue...

My loyal readers (if there are still any, which I doubt) will know I'm usually not a fan of Magical Realism, which, as you may also know, is Karen Russell's stock in trade. That said, there's nothing I love more than having my antipathy for magical realism shattered by an awesome story like "The Bog Girl."

Briefly, an Irish teenager discovers the body of a young woman who as been buried in a bog for over 2,000 years and begins to date her. What more do you need, right? If I'd read that one-line description somewhere else, and wasn't on a mission to review every New Yorker short story, I doubt I'd have read "The Bog Girl." But maybe I should start doing a George Costanza and do the opposite of everything I think I should do.

Where Russell succeeds here is in two main areas: 1.) Making us really love Cillian, the teenager who falls in love with the bog girl, and 2.) pulling the unbelievable trick making the characters…

Water Review: San Pellegrino 250ml Bottle

Damn you, tiny little bottle of San Pellegrino. So little. So cute. But what are you really good for other than to make me wish I had a full bottle of Pellegrino? 
Good as a palate cleanser after a nice double espresso, I will give it that. But little else. The suave yet chaotic burst of Pellegrino bubbliness is still there, but with each sip you feel the tragedy of being that much closer to the end of the bottle, that much faster.

This is a bottle of water made specifically for the frustrated, for the meticulous, for the measurers among us with a penchant for the dainty. This water does not love you in the wild, on a sunny porch or with the raucous laughter of friends. No...much the opposite. Whatever that may be.

Best drunk in tiny, tiny sips, while forcing oneself through an unreadable and depressing Russian novel one does not want to read but feels one should, on a cold, wet day in December that promises four months of gloom and depression...or in pairs or threes and poured over …