There were strong complaints after FIFA named the successful host countries for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.

The FIFA President explained that it was part of FIFA’s strategy to widen the location of the World Cup to new countries, away from the traditional centres.

This is a very understandable and valid point but unfortunately this information was not given at the start of the bidding process and resulted in millions of dollars being spent by countries which seemed to have had no chance of winning from the very start.

England spent around $23 million while Australia spent around $40 million. The other bidding countries would spend comparable sums.

In the European contest for 2018, Russia could be the only possible winner since the other five countries Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium and England lay in Western Europe where the World Cup has always been held.

What was wrong was that in the interests of ‘transparency’, a favourite FIFA word, this should have been stated when the bidding process was announced.

The bidding for 2022 was even more complex. Four member associations of the Asian Football Confederation – Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar – were competing with the United States to be the host nation.

Three of these bidders have already held a World Cup which left only Australia and Qatar.

Qatar won 14 – 8 on the fourth round of voting and Australia was eliminated in the first round, gaining only one vote.

The selection of Qatar was always going to be controversial. It is a small country which is presently ranked 114th in the FIFA World Rankings, just ahead of Suriname.

It does fit in to FIFA’s philosophy of bringing the World Cup to new areas and 2022 will bring the tournament to the Middle East.

It has some experience of hosting major events such as the Asian Games, a large scale regional version of the Olympic Games, in 2006 and the AFC Asian Cup which begins there on 7th January 2011.

Where the goal posts will be possibly changed here is the suggestion which is now coming from FIFA that the World Cup in 2022 should take place in January and February when the weather is more suitable for football.

The climatic problem was highlighted by FIFA’s own Study Group, but this major consideration was not seen as a problem since the Qatar FA said they would construct air-conditioned stadia.

There would however have been a problem with thousands of supporters visiting Qatar in June and July when the temperature reaches over 40 degrees.

FIFA has fired an opening salvo by raising the possibility of a World Cup in the middle of the European and South American seasons.

The reaction from Europe especially has been predictably hostile.

12 years from now will professional football in Europe close down for six to eight weeks while we prepare to watch the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup?

I think not.

A power struggle seems inevitable.

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