So Russia have the 2018 World Cup and it’s to go to Qatar in 2022. Anyone trying to suggest that this decision has anything to do with football needs to go away and sit quietly in a dark corner whilst they reevaluate their opinion.
The decision by FIFA bigwigs is solely about where the power is in the new world order, and it’s not in quiet, dusty old England. No-one should be trying to make Panorama a scapegoat, either – this is a decision that would have been reached regardless of their investigations.
We live in an age of infocapitalists. Those with the biggest budgets are always most likely to buy up these big events – and who is bigger these days than the big, oil rich states?
The big sporting events are essentially being divvied up in a huge game of Risk amongst the new powers – and if England thinks it belongs in that pecking order, it needs to step back and think again. No matter how many prime ministers, Royals or sporting legends we throw at a bid in the future, we are not likely to ever be top of the selection pecking order (although David Beckham’s turn as a diplomat was surprisingly convincing). Never mind that no-one will find it easy to play football in the heat of Qatar; football follows the money.
Anyone who complains about the decision is missing the point – England just doesn’t have the muscle to compete creatively for a World Cup bid at this level, despite the fact that we have the infrastructure ready made to host it.
We may have invented the sport, but football has grown beyond us and the people in charge don’t anyway give a damn about the sport. These are the sorts of people who will buy a premiership club because it looks good in their portfolio, not because they care about the fans or the beautiful game.
When it comes to the big leagues and the world competitions, a relatively poor country like England just doesn’t stand a chance.