Inside Insight: 'To Qatar or Not Qatar', that is the (real) question

Winter or summer?

Confucius say: Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

A summer World Cup has always been the FIFA choice in the past. Ever since the first one in 1930 in Uruguay.

But then, in Switzerland for example, women were not allowed to vote until the sixties - hence women not voting "had always been the choice" until such time as they were allowed to become full-time citizens.

This 'always'-thing is a tricky one.

What was "always the way", often cemented encrusted conservatism and rigidity. Change is good, in principle, because it sometimes creates chaos. And chaos is good because established principles are sometimes re-thought, re-visited, thrown over board. And new ones get a chance.

But change creates danger, too. Particularly for those in power.

It discombobulates those who are "used to the old ways" and hold on to them for dear life.

But... is that a good thing?

Maya Angelou said. "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

So what now? Where to go?

Changing from summer to winter will be a bad thing for the Premier League above all (and now it seems for all big European leagues as well): the changing of the calendar will be a total mess. A mathematical impossibility actually, one hears. Others say, it can be done. Who's who? Who is the Reformer, who the Conservative, who the Reactionary? Hard to say. This needs a mathematician to figure it out.

Actually, changing the World Cup from summer to winter could be a good thing: the wise men at FIFA (at least some wise men) discovered a novelty: it is very very hot in Qatar in summer. What a surprise.

But wait a minute: it was very very hot in Mexico as well when the World Cup was played there? Add the altitude, the thin air. What is the exact difference? And didn't a European team win? Odd.

And, it was very very very hot in the US during the 94 World Cup, wasn't it? Climatic tables confirm that it was massively hot there, as hot as in Doha in June, for sure.

And since everybody speaks about athletes and fans: it was very very very very hot in Atlanta, was it not? Admittedly no Olympians fainted or died, but it was just as hot there, as it will be in Qatar. Confusion reigns.

I remember an AFC Final in Jakarta where it was so hot that your shirt and suit were glued to your body moments after stepping out into the balmy night. It was very very hot in Jakarta when the Saudis and the Iraqis slugged it out. But the final took place, despite the heat. And nobody died. And everybody had a whale of a time.

The heat in Qatar seems to be but one concern to all those well-meaning men who first voted for the country by 14:8, then suddenly found out that it is hot there. Much later, though. What a surprise. Where was Michel D'Hoogue then? Wasn't the good doctor awake? What with timely tirades of the sort he produces years later?

One starts to smell a level of disingenuity here. Could it be that it is not really the heat that everybody is worrying about (after all, Mexico, LA and Atlanta were just as hot)? Could it be that some loud-mouthed opinion leaders (sic!) have a different agenda than simply pointing to the heat, post factum of course, what else?

Many questions, and far too many of them remain unanswered, but there seems to be the silent hope by losers such as the Aussies, the US and England, that there is still time to steal it away from the Gulf and perpetuate the tradition that the World Cup belongs to the Western World, while forgetting that the Western World is pretty much kaputt and has lost its dominance (and it was about time, too).

Frankly, and all things considered, this renewed discussion about Qatar or not Qatar, appears to degenerate into a discussion that has nothing to do with sport but very much to do with an endemic European (Western, let's include the Aussies) hatred of a newcomer whose legitimacy to excel is questioned well before he can prove them – the Westerners – wrong.

Pulling the World Cup forward by a month, maybe two, would clinch the deal and demonstrate that heat is not a real factor (it wasn't in Mexico, or the USA, was it?). And that fans would actually have a good time.

But some want to make sure that the West calls the shots, at a time when it no longer does, in virtually anything. Get over it, guys.
email