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Qatar pick provides 'wow' factor

Paul Rhys of Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera writes that, for a moment at least, the simple tearing open of an envelope made Qatar, with its 7,000 square miles of desert, the biggest country in the world. That the Gulf state of just 1.6 million people would host the World Cup in 2022 was a sensational outcome that few could have foreseen when Qatar's bid was announced early last year.

Rhys writes that it's a good thing that the Qataris are teaming up with German transport experts to build a metro system for 2022 because, given the way Arabs celebrate, no one will be going anywhere by car. Within seconds of the announcement, Doha's grand Corniche seafront was clogged with vehicles.

With the considerable benefit of hindsight, Qatar seems like the only choice that FIFA's 22-strong executive committee could have opted for. Choosing South Korea, Japan, the United States or Australia would have just appeared tepid. All of them were seen as safe options. None of them had the "wow" factor. The Middle East's first World Cup has exactly that.

Very little of what Qatar is promising for 2022 has yet been built. But it will be. Qatar can build, and build quickly. Living here, you get the impression of steady, yet relentless and determined progress. Spend a month abroad, and the skyline seems to have changed when you return.

Read the whole story at Al Jazeera »

1 comment about "Qatar pick provides 'wow' factor".
  1. Carlos Thys, December 4, 2010 at 2:02 a.m.

    Follow the money & FOLLOW the construction contracts. Sepp Blatter once famously denied the King of Morocco's bid (years ago) by saying that FIFA was not in the development business, i.e. a country that wants to host better have 75% or more of its infrastructure in place PRIOR to host announcement day. Fast forward to December 2010 and we all know the ruse: Qatar's emirs and sheiks -- in addition to the various bribes (not all monetary) -- calculate "winning" various European FIFA executive committee member votes because those European countries' construction firms (example: HochTief from Germany) will be doing the building over the next decade. So...how then does a German FIFA exec vote? (His bribe comes from multiple sources to include his nation’s construction firms.) The decision for a German, French or Italian executive is not difficult. Vote for Qatar. Because it is just not possible to obtain these kinds of "favors" from developed bidder countries like the USA, Japan, and Australia which boast 1) mostly completed stadia, hotels, transport, and 2) their own highly competent architectural, building, and communications firms. Hint: Look at the MANY non South African firms that profited handsomely in the 4 year build-up to June 2010. Might some of those same firms be in feverish preparations for work on the Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 projects? And who has already been building in Doha, Abu Dhabi, other Gulf states, etc? Great work when you know the sheiks can indeed foot the bill. Ah...collusion, bribes, and winks all around! Lesson learned: Don’t believe that tripe you read about FIFA leaders wanting to bring the game to the Third (sorry, under-developed) World. It’s just a way to earn more "personal profits.”

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