World Cup arrogance prevails

Morris Dalla Costa, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:43 PM ET

The world has had a week to get over the selection of Russia and Qatar as the location of the 2018 and 2022 men’s World Cups.

The red haze of anger has dissipated somewhat, turning to simmering indignity. How dare FIFA snub its nose at nations like the United States and England and award soccer’s greatest prize to someone else?

In the light of day, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the decisions FIFA made. There may be questions about how and why FIFA got to that point but all that matters is the final decision will not do damage to the game.

Let’s be clear. The entire selection process was steeped in arrogance.

FIFA is neck and neck with the International Olympic Committee as the most arrogant sports organization in the world.

The senior executive of FIFA refuses to acknowledge the corruption that seeps through the organization among its voting members. It refuses to adhere to the standards of transparency and honesty most other world organizations follow. FIFA publicly, arrogantly and defiantly holds out its hand to accept gifts and perks in a very public fashion . . . no perks, no tournament. It arrogantly and shamelessly gets caught with its hand in the cookie jar and no matter how impeccable the evidence, FIFA simply denies, denies, denies.

If there are anything arrogant organizations like FIFA hate it is scrutiny, examination and a demand for accountability. It’s why a neanderthal like FIFA president Sepp Blatter talked about the “evil of the media” before members voted to assign the two tournaments. How dare the media question the integrity of an organization whose members have so often been proven to have no integrity?

All that said there was great arrogance among two of the biggest complainers after the vote, the United States and England. Both complained about the tournament going to countries with plenty of oil money as if neither the United States nor England had major corporate sponsors backing their bids. For whatever reasons those countries felt their mega-money promises were cleaner than the mega-money promises of the winning bids.

How arrogant was the United States in thinking, after staging the 1994 World Cup, it would get another one ahead of nations that have never held a World Cup?

Did England really expect all the warts their bid had to overcome and the dislike England has fostered around the world would be forgiven by voters?

The selection of Russia and Qatar fits the profile FIFA is establishing. South Korea/Japan and South Africa are nations where the sport is making enormous inroads and where a tournament like the World Cup needs to go to further expand that growth.

Russia has a tremendous soccer history and is the biggest country on Earth. There is big money in the nation and Russian soccer fans travel throughout Europe and the world to support their team.

Russia deserves to hold a World Cup.

Qatar is a wild card just as South Africa was a wild card. South Africa turned out far better than expected. The World Cup was not a South African World Cup. It was an African world cup.

For Qatar, money will be no barrier. It also will have a lot of time to prepare. Qatar will be the most technologically advanced and showiest of all World Cups.

It is not a world cup for Qatar but a world cup for the Middle East where soccer has as passionate a following as anywhere else.

Both Russia and Qatar will have their issues.

No World Cup is perfect.

But to suggest the 2018 and 2022 World Cups would have been better off and more deserved in England and the United States is not only wrong but arrogant as well.

morris.dallacosta@sunmedia.ca


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