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'FIFA needs a complete overhaul ...'

  • SI.com, Thursday, December 2, 2010 7:46 PM

Grant Wahl, reporting from Zurich after FIFA awarded World Cup 2022 to Qatar (with the U.S. losing out) and World Cup 2018 to Russia, provided these three observations ...

* Choosing Qatar and Russia is the biggest indictment possible that FIFA is not a clean organization. The message here is that petrodollars talk. Even if Russia had a pretty good case for being chosen, having two oil-wealthy winners is the clearest message possible that FIFA needs a complete overhaul in its leadership and organization. ...

* Qatar is a huge risk for FIFA, whose own inspection team visited Qatar and was concerned that the 110-degree summer heat would put the health of players and fans at risk, even if Qatar says it will build air-conditioned stadiums and training grounds. ...

* The U.S. lost out, but its hard to imagine the Americans could have done more. The U.S. bid committee crisscrossed the world to lobby voters for the past 18 months. It had the best economic case of any of the 22 bidders for winning the bid. Is it possible to win the World Cup bid while playing by the rules? ...

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1 comment about "'FIFA needs a complete overhaul ...'".
  1. Carlos Thys, December 3, 2010 at 5:42 a.m.

    Well said, Mr. Wahl. Complete overhaul of FIFA and ALL its decisions. Reading and following events up to the 2 December decisions in Zurich only underscores how woefully incompetent these idiots remain. Both Russia and Qatar are huge risks. And I don't mean for the "bottom line" economics that drives all FIFA decisions. 1) Quality of competition (Doesn't anyone remember the Moscow stadium's horrible pitch for the very recent Chelsea - Man. United UEFA Champions League Final? That was amateur hour on the world stage. Ask John Terry what he thinks of their expert groundkeepers.) Far more serious: Travelling fan safety. Which parent here with a 22 year old son is going to bless his idea to head to Russia for the World Cup with his two best mates? And your 22 year old daughter? Wouldn't it be a bit different if we were talking a jaunt for the World Cup to England or to Australia? As for Qatar, you can't play ping pong in any degree of comfort in June or July in that Gulf state. This is absurdity that a 10-year-old comprehends. And exactly what culural and historical sites does Qatar have to offer for the fans on the non game days? Oh, the big indoor mall with the ski slope the size of 5 basketball courts? Oh, the bowling alley that looks like a US Brunswick Lanes? Fantastic! Everyone will be indoors hugging an air conditioner. Get ready for heat exhaustion on the grand scale. And I don't just mean fans. Doesn't anyone else remember the Belgian player who collapsed on the pitch in the match versus the Netherlands in Orlando, Florida 1994? He did; I was there. And he was subbed out. And every game in Orlando was dullsville, just like Spain-Switzerland at RFK. No running. No come-from-behind vigorous, gasping victories. Dullsville. I'll be sure to remind all the big corporate sponsors of this. (please don't call it the greatest game on earth when players can't run for even 20 minutes)

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