Qatar To Host World Cup 2022: Are You Kidding Me?

Stan SillimanCorrespondent IIDecember 3, 2010

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 03:  Football fans react as Australia misses out on the 2022 World Cup at a public live broadcast of the announcement of the host country for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup at the Overseas Passenger Terminal Circular Quay on December 3, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. Australia was up against the Korea Republic, Qatar, Japan and USA in the running to be the 2022 FIFA World Cup host nation.  (Photo by Mike Flokis/Getty Images)
Mike Flokis/Getty Images

Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup. Are you kidding me?

Qatar, which has sent—let me see—how many teams to the World Cup? How about... zero. Are you kidding me?

Qatar, which has lost or tied 42 games in World Cup qualifying in the last nine attempts, is the host? Are you kidding me?

Qatar, whose best soccer victory ever was over Afghanistan 8-0 in 1984? Come on, Afghanistan? Afghanistan couldn't even afford real soccer balls in 1984. They practiced with severed goat heads. Is that the best you got, Qatar? 8-0 over the Afghans? Are you kidding me?

Qatar, whose best finish in the Asia Cup was a quarterfinals... in 2000? Are. You.  Kidding. Me?

What was so appealing to the World Cup committee about Qatar? Is it the climate in June? We hear the average temperature in June is 106 degrees. Oh, but it's a DRY heat. No rain and it's 106 to 110 or in other words, ideal soccer weather. Sure. Are you kidding me?

And we're talking 2010 temperatures. If global warming is real, what will be the temps in 2022? Stupid question, because if we're alive after 2012 it's all bonus anyway.

So what else is so appealing about a country with sub-standard sports teams who has never medaled in Soccer or even in the Olympics? What do they have that's so appealing to the committee. Oh, I remember now what it is...money! Lots of it.

You'd think that a country with lots of money could buy good coaches and somehow field competitive teams. Believe me, they've tried. Which leads me to my favorite Olympics "are you kidding me" story.The one where Qatar tried to buy a medal. Enjoy:

Olympic Sell-Outs Deserve Come-Uppance

A country should not be able to just buy Olympic medals, right?

If you agree, here’s a story I love repeating. It’s one about importing athletes and money down the drain. Hark back to the 2000 games in Sydney and the lovely country of Qatar.

Qatar? Are you kidding me? Yeah, I know. Sounds more like a musical instrument than a sovereign nation. Sounds like something Yoni would pick up and sing “Oh where, oh where have “U” gone?”

Okay, okay, I’m not going to make a big deal about Qatar missing its “U”. After all, Qatar has enough oil money that if they wanted to they could buy a “U” from another country. And I’m sure Kraine would sell it to them.

Back to the story.

The Sheiks of Qatar were sitting around (on silk pillows stuffed with soft, fluffy one-hundred-dollar bills) thinking they need to win Olympic medals and might do so in the weightlifting events.

But then they looked about and saw all their citizens smoking hookahs and figured water pipes can’t weigh that much. They even noticed the giant feather fans cooling them were being waved by foreign servants. So where were they going to find champion weightlifters?

Are you kidding me? Duh?! Even I know the answer – Bulgaria!

They hatched a scheme to import Bulgarians. Yes, in Bulgaria weightlifters grow on trees. Well, not really… but they live in them.

And Qataris look a little like Bulgarians. Well, except for the muscles parts. But close enough they could change a few names, doctor up citizenship papers. You get the picture.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 03:  Football fans gather at a public live broadcast of the announcement of the host country for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup at the Overseas Passenger Terminal Circular Quay on December 3, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. Austr
Mike Flokis/Getty Images


Also they were to pay the Bulgarians the kind of money they don’t see in Bulgaria. If the Bulgarians had Qatari money, they wouldn’t be living in trees.

Plus they gave the new Qatari citizens new names. Angel Popov became Said Assad. Yani Marchokov became Jaber Salem. Andrei Ivanov became Abbas Nadur.

So here’s the payoff. In the Olympic village each country has its own dietician and prepares meals to suit country customs. Qataris love rice mixed with dates and a little lamb so long as it’s doused with sugar.

Bulgarian weightlifters, on the other hand, revel in high protein, high fat items like milk, cheese and beef.

Are you ready for the sweet irony? When the new highly paid citizens sat down to their Olympic Village Qatari meals they developed a heavy case of diarrhea. And when you’re talking weightlifters it really is heavy duty. So much so most of them had to withdraw from the events.

There wasn’t enough Kaopectate in all of Australia to bail them out. Because if there’s any sport you don’t want to chance if you’ve got diarrhea, it’s weightlifting.

So here you go. Qatar paid Bulgaria millions for their weightlifters, plus they paid the guys millions only to see all that money going down the toilet. 

Actually, Said Asaad picked up a bronze. The former Bulgarian, Angel Popov, who Qatar paid over a million, became Said Asaad, then won a bronze...with a little help from Depends.