Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 1st 2013 Contents A57
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Erick Thohir could complete a
takeover of Inter Milan this week,
according to club president Massimo
Thohir has been in talks with Inter
for the past few months as he bids to
finalize a long-running bid for a
controlling stake in the club, and
Moratti said yesterday that "we could
sign this week.
"It depends on so many little
Moratti has presided over Inter
Thohir, who is part owner of the
Philadelphia 76ers and DC United, is
reportedly looking for a 75-per cent
stake for 350 million euros ($463
Thohir could complete Inter takeover this week
PARIS---Qatar-strophic. Qatar-clysm. The
headlines will write themselves if FIFA turns
the world of football on its head this week
by deciding that the 2022 World Cup cannot
be played in summer.
Moving the tournament from its usual June-
July slot to another time of year when the
heat in 2022 host country Qatar isn t such a
health hazard would clearly be disruptive, and
not just for football.
Quite how disruptive---ranging from mod-
erately to massively so---isn t yet clear. That
will depend to a large extent on what new
dates FIFA picks: May or November, for exam-
ple, at least wouldn t clash with the Winter
Olympics in the first few months of 2022.
Still, this much is certain: This whole mess
was completely avoidable. The danger of stag-
ing the showcase event in the extreme heat
of a Gulf summer was laid out in black and
white by FIFA before its executive committee
picked the oil- and gas-wealthy nation in
2010, in a secret ballot overshadowed by alle-
gations of influence trading and corruption.
"Very hot, sunny and humid summers,"
FIFA s fact-finders stated in their 34-page
report that evaluated the Qatari bid.
Expect average afternoon temperatures of
at least 37 Celsius (99 Fahrenheit), rarely dip-
ping below 31 Celsius (88 Fahrenheit) in the
evenings, they added.
And, leaving absolutely no doubt, they
warned: "The fact that the competition is
planned in June/July, the two hottest months
of the year in this region, has to be considered
as a potential health risk for players, officials,
the FIFA family and spectators, and requires
So can t FIFA bosses read or is it just that
they didn t care? Did the 14 executive com-
mittee voters (from 22) who backed Qatar
against the United States in the final round
of voting put personal interests, whatever they
might have been, before those of the sport
they are meant to safeguard? Or did they
believe that Qatar will deliver promised solar-
powered, air-conditioning technology to cool
the stadiums and other venues? If so, are those
promises no longer valid? Why is there a need
less than three years later to debate possible
wholesale changes to everyone s schedules
At this point, three years too late, the causes
of this public relations disaster---yet anoth-
er---for FIFA are less important than what the
next step should be: the resignation of FIFA
President Sepp Blatter and the bulk of his
Because if they decide at their closed-door
meeting on Friday that a summer World Cup
in Qatar isn t reasonable then that can only
mean it wasn t reasonable when they opted
for it in 2010, either.
That, in turn, would mean that collectively,
regardless of how its members voted as indi-
viduals, FIFA s decision-making body displayed
very poor judgment, so poor that it surely
can t be completely trusted to now deftly clean
up this mess of its own making.
Standing aside, allowing other, hopefully
more competent administrators to dig FIFA
and football out of the hole would be the decent
thing to do. That won t happen, of course.
Blatter being who he is, so frequently haughty
and untouchable at the pinnacle of the sport,
the world of football probably won t even get
an apology. Thirteen executive committee
members who voted in 2010, including Blatter,
still serve---if that s the right word---today.
As a World Cup venue, Qatar always made
some sense. Europe and the Americas have
hogged football s showcase event for too long,
hosting it 17 of 19 times. Only very belatedly
did Asia (2002) and Africa (2010) also get the
nod. The beautiful game has plenty of fans
and history in the Middle East---the football
associations of Egypt and Iran will both cel-
ebrate their centenaries before 2022. To be a
truly World Cup, the tournament can no longer
bypass the region.
In tiny Qatar, the mostly new stadiums will
be so close together that spectators could the-
oretically attend several games in a day. No
vast treks from hotels to venues for players.
After World Cups spread across the expanses
of Brazil in 2014 and Russia in 2018, and the
multi-nation European Championship in 2020,
not needing to fly planes everywhere will make
a welcome breather for everyone involved and
for the ozone layer.
But Qatar s summer heat always looked
problematic. If FIFA now decides that its
choice of Qatar in June-July was wrong, then
the rest of football, other sports, broadcasters,
and everyone else affected should not have to
rearrange their schedules to fix that mistake.
The honest thing to do would be to hold
the 2022 vote again, under new management
at FIFA. (AP)
Blatter should go over
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, left, and his wife Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser al-Misnad hold a copy of the World Cup trophy he
received from FIFA president Sepp Blatter after the announcement that Qatar will be the host nation for the FIFA World Cup 2022, in Zurich in
this December 2, 2010.
Standing aside, allowing other, hopefully more competent administrators to dig FIFA and football out of the hole
would be the decent thing to do. That won't happen, of course. Blatter being who he is, so frequently haughty
and untouchable at the pinnacle of the sport, the world of football probably won't even get an apology. Thirteen
executive committee members who voted in 2010, including Blatter, still serve---if that's the right word---today.
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