The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is some way off, but serious questions remain regarding this unusual venue for what is to many the greatest sporting event on the planet. (With lots of politics thrown in.)
Assuming that the tournament will in fact take place in December when the desert heat is more forgiving (although it is still very humid), the issue of the weather is less critical. The havoc it will wreak on the European football calendar seems to bother no-one.
When a country with no footballing tradition (and indeed with a very weak national team) is awarded such a prestigious event, the beautiful game loses out. Qatar will not match the other teams and local enthusiasm will be lukewarm at best.
Which raises the issue of the foreign fans descending on Qatar and its capital city Doha. As a Muslim country, Qatar will not allow the
open sale of alcohol. For most
fans, football without beer is
simply unfeasible. Strict dress
codes will be in place, which will affect female fans. Unmarried couples cannot share hotel rooms, so forget about taking your girlfriend to watch football together.
Last, but definitely not least,
Qatar has made no pledges regarding the expected refusal to admit fans from some countries, in particular Israel. This can turn this World Cup into a political event, turning the very essence of football into a laughing-stock.
Over to you, Fifa honchos.