Post by Elie De Beaufour on Jan 10, 2014 8:18:16 GMT -5
Football's governing body was quick to distance itself from it's own General-Secretary, Jerome Valcke, yesterday, after he told a French radio station that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar "will be held in November-December", instead of the usual June-July time frame.
But make no mistake, this decision has already been taken, despite the fact that the FIFA Executive Committee is yet to announce it officially.
HOW BLUNDERING FIFA AFFECTS AUSTRALIA
WORLD CUP WILL BE IN WINTER: VALCKE
Behind the scenes, feverish work is being done to assuage broadcasters, particularly the big paymasters in the US, where a rescheduled World Cup will clash with the NFL season. Tensions are being soothed in Europe, where domestic club seasons will have to be completely re-arranged, while the other bidders (including Australia), have been told politely that any legal challenge will summarily fail, as FIFA had the foresight to include loopholes in the bidding documents, which leaves them in the clear.
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Legally, they may be right. Morally, they are reprehensible.
To back flip over the timing of the finals not only sends the football world into chaos, it leaves the games reputation in places such as Australia (where the game isn't number one) in tatters.
Australia, like Qatar, was told it was bidding for a World Cup in June-July 2022. A winter finals would have suited Australia too, as it would have sidestepped the other football codes.
Now, the goalposts have been shifted, just as they were in 2002, when Oceania (of which Australia was then a member) was given an automatic World Cup qualifying spot, only to see it rescinded on the flimsiest of excuses some months later.
Most irritatingly, UEFA's high priest, Michel Platini - wonderful footballer, rotten administrator - who voted for Qatar in 2010, now says his support is only conditional on a seasonal switch, and a shared tournament with other Middle Eastern nations. He may well be the next FIFA President in succession to Sepp Blatter - truly Hobson's Choice.
Australia may not have a legal leg to stand on, and there were elements of the Australian bid that were less than savoury too - and I'm not just talking about the cartoon kangaroo.
But if FFA is determined to obtain some justice from this whole sorry affair, then it must lead a boycott of nations from the 2022 World Cup.
The fans can do their bit too by refusing to support this shameful episode in the games history. I'll be the first - I won't be there.
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