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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 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 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. 


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