Firstly, I couldn’t really give a stuff that England didn’t get awarded the World Cup
That is because I had already resigned myself to the fact that Sepp Blatter would never allow his precious tournament to come to these shores. Lets not pretend. The man holds what he calls ‘The Motherland of football’ with complete contempt. He doesn’t like our FA. He doesn’t like our Premier League. And he doesn’t like our football clubs. We could have sent David Beckham or Mother Teresa to fight our case, and it wouldn’t have mattered diddly squat. The only sure thing that was to happen in Zurich was that Blatter would rather throw himself in front of a great big snow gritter than allow us to be hosts…..so lets put that to bed.
Of course, the World Cup tournament is now destined to be held in Russia and ….ahem….Qatar. Blatter has always professed that his vision is to take the competition to uncharted waters, and in many ways that’s a philosophy I do not disagree with. World means…..world! But as we know the political and financial motivations that FIFA have for their organisation is high. Do they really care where the tournament is held? Well these two selections suggest ‘no’.
I went to Russia to watch United lift the Champions League trophy. It was immense.. It was also a pain in the backside. Visa issues and Russia’s suspicion of anyone entering their country from the west of their borders meant that it wasn’t really the greatest place to hold Europe’s marquee football match. After the match the transfer to the airports and the airports themselves were chaos. Now I don’t expect Russians to speak English…but when two English teams come to your backyard you expect provisions to be made. I remember asking a machine gun touting guard at the airport where a certain gate was (we had been provided with basic Russian phrases written down so we could show the natives) He read the statement and shoo-ed me on my way. Thousands of fans were forced to go through passport control through two individual gates, while fifty other gates were left empty…yet still manned. Then through security we were shepherded through like cattle…and with out shoes which we were told to remove. The whole thing was a farce…at 3am in the morning.
What this all displayed was Russia was not the right place to hold that match…not in a million years. I understand that they have eight years to sort this all out, but the fact is it is a country that operates outside the normal practices of Europe. It does not have the mindset to open its doors and welcome the world in. But that really is not the real problem. FIFA proclaims ‘Fair Play’. It proclaims to want to kick racism out of football. Yet here they are, giving the tournament to a nation with a huge racism problem, with allegations of corruption…and the country with the highest security risk of all the bidders…with only Qatar considered a higher risk. Does any of this make sense to you? No, didn’t think so.
The choice of Qatar over a sporting superpower that is Australia is not only bizarre, but also stinks to high heaven. They will host their 2022 World Cup all within a 25km sq area, not yet built of course…but once it is and has hosted the tournament it will then be…..dismantled. Like Lego. And FIFA loves to crow on about legacy! Pathetic in so many ways. Even the less cynical amongst us can smell the fumes of oil coming from these two hosts, and you cant help but wonder what really persuaded those executive members to vote for these nations over what were technically superior bids in every way, shape and form.
Football is dying. Yes I know alot of people watch it worldwide with religious fascination…I’m one of them. But ten years ago the politics of the game were out of the fans eyes. We could enjoy our sport without the mental punishment which many of us face today. Whether it be foreign owners making us slaves to their brands, or millionaire footballers holding us to ransom, to the very people that run the game…making a mockery of every facet of this damned sport at every given opportunity. Frankly it stinks….and I am scared. Scared for the game I love disintegrating into farce. Its already there in many ways. How can we stop it? I don’t know. But what I do know is that eventually people get wise to being slapped in the face repeatedly. Eventually you just turn your head away. Many friends who I used to go to games with no longer have any interest in football for the reasons stated above. I’m sad that I may well become one of them sooner rather than later.
But for now we carry on. Praying for a miracle. Praying for a football saviour.
How long will it be before Football takes his last, sorry breath? Only FIFA can answer that question.