Sepp Blatter loves a good party.
In order for the 2022 World Cup to be the type of party the current FIFA president will want to attend, he has come to the (not) shocking (in any way) realization that Qatar—in the summer—may not be the best place to boogie down.
According to ESPNFC.com, Blatter notes, "If this World Cup is to become a party for the people, you can’t play football in the summer. You can cool down the stadiums, but you can’t cool down the whole country."
Right now, as I type this story, it is 95 degrees in Doha, Qatar. It "feels like" 113. The past 24 hours of precipitation, per weather.com, is "not applicable."
From Weatherspark.com, the average high temperature in Doha in July, based on historical records from 1978 through 2012, is 106 degrees. The average low is 88 degrees.
In 2010, when FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar—some might use the word "sold" instead of awarded—there were enormous concerns about the heat. According to The Guardian, the chief executive of the Qatar bid, Hassan Al-Thawadi, told reporters, "We know it would be a bold gamble and an exciting prospect but with no risk. Heat is not and will not be an issue."
Look, the power brokers within FIFA who thought it might be possible to host a summer World Cup in Qatar are unscrupulous imbeciles. They had little concern the heat would be an issue for the 2022 World Cup because, clearly, they had little intention of ever hosting the event in the summer.
It seems obvious now that FIFA was going to try to move the World Cup to winter all along, all in an effort to accommodate the deep-pocketed Qatari cabal they preposterously awarded the event to in the first place.
Blatter's comments on Wednesday were predictable. Thinking otherwise would be like sticking your head in the sand…on a 106-degree morning in Qatar.
The weather in Qatar, if you were wondering, is far more tolerable in the winter months. In January and February, Doha may be downright pleasant, with highs in the mid-70s and lows in the mid-50s. Not only is it perfect weather to host an international football competition as important as a World Cup, it's great weather for a party!
It's just, well, there is a reason why the World Cup is played in the summer. Most players already have games in the winter.
Blatter ostensibly wants every major league in the world to stop in the middle of its season to play the World Cup. How ridiculous is it to expect top leagues around the globe to put their seasons on hold because Qatar is too damn hot when the World Cup is supposed to be played?
What if some of the leagues say no? Can they? This whole idea will be a logistical nightmare. From the ESPNFC.com story:
Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert said in May: "I'm not sure of the credibility of FIFA. It shows me FIFA, as a body which says what's good for the game, ignores completely the day-by-day basis in those leagues who are effectively the core and the heart of football - not the tournament that comes up every four years."
The World Cup takes an entire month to complete, so is FIFA going to black out all those dates so leagues can't continue with their seasons, even if none of the players in some leagues make it beyond the group stage? Imagine how ridiculous it will be for players to be sitting around in the middle of their seasons waiting for the World Cup to finish so they can get back to league play when none of the players in those leagues have anything to do with the World Cup.
And it's not like leagues can set up any kind of contingency if their players get knocked out. The schedule needs to be set months in advance to accommodate travel, fans and television contracts. Leagues would have to agree to stop their seasons for the entire month or—as has been the case with MLS during past summer World Cup events—do whatever the hell they want. (MLS has previously stopped play for the group stage but restarted games during the knockout stage.)
Would FIFA even allow that? If FIFA creates a full month of blackout dates in the winter, what will leagues do? Go against FIFA? Can anyone go against FIFA?
The short answer to that, clearly, is no.
FIFA does what it wants, when it wants.
Qatar was given the World Cup by FIFA even though Sepp Blatter wants a party, dammit, and the laws prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public.
At the time of the announcement in 2010, however, Blatter and FIFA seemed unconcerned, because permits can be had and, presumably, bought. (Note: Everything in Qatar, it seems, can be bought.)
What's the best plan for the 2022 World Cup?
How are things in Qatar now? A Muslim man from Asia, who works as a barber, was sentenced to "40 lashes" because he tried to give a woman his phone number then was found drunk in his shop. (He was also fined.)
Qatar was also given the World Cup by FIFA—an organization dedicated to global peace and equality—even though the laws prohibit homosexuality. When pressed on the issue in 2010, Blatter joked that gays "should refrain from any sexual activities" before suggesting the world will be different in 2022 with reassuring comments like, "I'm sure when the World Cup will be in Qatar in 2022, there will be no problems."
As long as you're sure, Sepp. As long as you're sure.
Those comments came more than a decade before Qatar will host the World Cup. Just nine years away from the event, has Blatter seen any change yet? Per BBC.co.uk:
Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state, due to host the 2022 World Cup.
FIFA has passed tough new sanctions to clamp down on racism and all forms of discrimination within the game.
But asked about gay fans and players hoping to attend in 2022, Blatter said: "What you are speaking about, I do not think it is part of racism, perhaps this is going into ethics and morals."
Come to think of it, moving the World Cup in Qatar to the winter may be, in 2013, the least of FIFA's problems.
Just this past spring, there were accusations of professional players in Qatar being treated like slaves.
The standards of safety and abuses of basic human rights have been an issue with the Middle Eastern nation, with the Council of Trade Unions concerned about the potential number of deaths from construction of World Cup venues. Via TVNZ:
President Helen Kelly said hundreds of thousands of migrants are being brought in to build the structures needed to host the cup but they are working in terrible conditions.
Kelly told Breakfast this morning that in one of the richest countries in the world, workers are earning the equivalent of $8 a day while working 15 hour days, six days a week.
And she said many are not being paid at all.
Even Blatter himself was against moving the tournament to winter just a few months ago, suggesting a re-vote to award a different nation the tournament in lieu of logistical issues (and all the other human-rights violations, I'm sure).
FIFA quickly backpedaled on that notion in March, reminding people that everything was going according to plan with Qatar in the summer.
Or maybe not, after all.