Stand by for the racism; plus planes landing in the wrong place (suddenly).

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by Phil Gregory

So the news is in, Russia has the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022. Anyone who is connected  to the Untold facebook page will know my thoughts already, but I decided to elaborate on them and put together a quick article.

There were seemingly three real front-runners for 2018: Russia, Spain-Portugal and England. I’m not entirely sure how FIFA decides how to choose it’s World Cup hosts. Russia has the most expensive capital city in Europe (yes, ahead of London) and has huge problems with racism in domestic games.

The banana banner that attempted to congratulate West Brom for taking Odemwingie off Lokomotiv Moscow’s hands was bad enough, but sadly, not a surprise. A few years back, Dick Advocaat came out and said that it wasn’t possible for him to sign black players as Zenit’s fans simply wouldn’t accept them.

Zenit were charged for racial abuse during a UEFA Cup tie with Marseilles, so it’s not like the issue has gone under the radar, unlike the 36 times Justice Adjei was stabbed in Moscow in a racial attack. This sort of attitude has no place in the civilised world or the 21st century, and yet Russia have the World Cup. How can we have grandiose gestures like Kick Racism out of Football and then hand the World Cup to Moscow? Somewhere, FIFA have messed up their priorities and it is an absolute disgrace.

Concerns over air safety (read: the planes have a habit of falling out of the sky) and infrastructure round of the backstory for the Russian bid, and yet they won. Mind-blowing stupidity on the part of FIFA. North Korea for the 2026 World Cup anyone?

All I can say is I’m thankful they didn’t give the World Cup to Spain-Portugal. Both countries are well on their way to sovereign bankruptcy (Portugal at least, is small enough to get bailed out, but Spain? Good luck!). I won’t bore you with too much economics, but suffice to say that Portugal’s government is so short of people to fund it’s debt, that its banks are actually lending the government money. This is a move of absolute stupidity, as once the Portuguese government starts to cut its deficit and the economy shrinks, the banks will find their losses mounting as people default on their loans/mortgages, and in turn demand money back from the government. Best of luck with that Portugal.

Aside from those same economic issues, barely any of Spain’s proposed World Cup stadium were even built, and most of them were funded by local authorities, the very same local authorities who are a bit strapped for cash amidst widespread concern over the Spanish economy. And yet I doubt any FIFA representative even broached the subject.

The issue of sustainability should be at the forefront of concerns: “if you build these stadiums for the World Cup, are they going to get used afterwards?” should be asked. It has to be a total deal-breaker if a country has to build a bunch of stadiums that will then stand derelict. FIFA should have learned from the Athens Olympics, where many facilities were built purely for the games and then afterwards lay unused, while the Greek economy crumbled.

The Qatar 2022 World Cup will have Greenpeace seething with rage.  With scorching summer temperatures, high-level sport will be nearly impossible. Good job then that Qatar plan on air conditioning all the stadiums then! Having visited the country myself, I can attest to it being a beautiful place but given the income inequality, I cannot see how they will sell tickets to the locals. Sure, the wealthy expatriate oil engineers and architects will pick them up easily, but that won’t fill stadiums. The very stadiums that I bet most will be custom-built and never used again. It truly beggars belief.

England apparently had the best technical bid, and were ticking all the boxes commercially too. You could have stadiums based all around the country, and very few would need upgrades. You’d have a few brand new stadiums by the time the World Cup came around, but you would have neither funding concerns nor time concerns (if they are delayed, there’s a plethora of other suitable stadiums). The infrastructure would be adequate if not perfect, and there would be both the funding and the time to make a few improvements if FIFA deemed it necessary. There’d be no nonsense of flying around the country like there was in South Africa, to the benefit of the fans’ pockets. How then did England only get two votes?

As a proud Englishman, I have to say I’m gutted at what was ultimately an abject failure of our bid. As ever though, I’d urge the bid team to be proud of their efforts, and remind themselves that the FIFA representatives are, almost to a man, corrupt and terribly misguided. All that I can say is FIFA can’t be considering the core issues for the bid’s but some wishy-washy “expanding the game into new areas” by awarding it to Russia. That’s all well and lovely, but let’s just wait for the first racist incident in Moscow. Once the World Cup comes around, we won’t be waiting long.

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93 Replies to “Stand by for the racism; plus planes landing in the wrong place (suddenly).”

  1. Fifa is corrupt, as Untold has shown, as Swiss Ramble has shown, as the S Times has shown, as Panorama has shown (although largely re-running the stuff from Untold) and just about everyone knows.

    And yet the UK government spent millions of pounds which it is daily taking away from citizens of the country, on a bid. It looks like they really thought they could win, in the face of this utter corruption.

    The complaints against the BBC were really awful – to say, “I don’t care how corrupt the game is, I want to play” should not be the attitude of any government running any civilised country, and yet that is what we have now.

    I am trying to find someone who can help me ask a Freedom of Information Act question to find out how much money was spent on this bid locally and nationally. I heard this morning that Bristol City council alone spent £350,000.

  2. As someone who hates international football it was easy for me to watch with a neutral viewpoint as this process went down. I suppose the first thing I realised a year or so ago was that Engalnd were not going to win this bid. That was always pretty obvious. England, Spain and USA had the best bids for 2018 and 2022 but it was clear fifa wanted the games elsewhere.

    But what the heck is Qatar all about? What history of football does that country have? Playing a WC in the Arab summer? What are they thinking? What will happen to the stadiums in Qatar after the WC? WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?

    Russia is fine. Whatever. They need encouragement.

    BUT QATAR?!?!?!?!?!?!? WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?????????


    I’m most and for all happy that Belgium and Holland didn’t make it. This saves me a lot of money. 😉

  4. Qatar may sound very unusual but dont underestimate people with billions of oil barrels to sell. They have enough money to make this event a successful one. I’ve seen how there middle eastern countries have successfully courted the formula one races. Infact, they seem to do everything in a grand manner. So i wudn’t be surprised to see the Qatar WC a successful one.

  5. As a person who has lived in the middle east for more than 17 years , i have to warn you about something rather overlooked….Qatar has prohibition of alcohol and NO pubs only the expensive hotels serve alcohol. Druken Behavior is punished with lashes and/or Deportation….Just a heads up

  6. For me explanation is more than simple, and there is no need to dig deep.
    We are all aware that Russians lately invest a lot in football, now I mean on Tycoons, and almost every month you have one big team taken by some Russian millionaire. So it also mean they have strong lobby.

    Qatar is simple message FIFA want to send to world and for me FIFA is nothing than political instrument. Message is we are not islamophobic and what you hear or see on news is mistaken. Same as South African one, just with point to show how FIFA is not racist etc etc…

    So why should England get it, what message would bureaucrats from FIFA send by it? Since when does football quality have anything with it.

  7. England has saved a lot of cash too, Walter. One thing that has been hushed up of late is the fact that some of the South African stadia, including the one that Fifa demanded being built after it had accepted the bid (without that stadium in it) are still empty.

  8. Tony, that would certainly be a very interesting request to put in. I’d certainly get in touch with your MP and enquire.

    It’s also been conclusively proven that hosting events doesn’t provide any real economic benefits in the short or long term, if they try and fob you off with that line (it was an investment yadda yadda ).

    Very much hope to hear of a positive result on that front Tony!

  9. Um… I hardly think that Andrew Jennings was re-hashing untold stories. A lot of the documentary was a follow on from his excellent 2006 book:

    “Foul!: The Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals”

    He has been a constant thorn in FIFA’s side and one of the true champions of anti-corruption and transparency in football… still – I imagine that the mugs will be guided to blame it all on him and Arshavin for the failed bid – when in truth the only reason why Russia got it is because they have all the gas.

  10. Qatar will be for all Arabs. I expect the stadiums to be full of people from all over the Arab world. And it’s time the middle easy get involved in the global game. The passion for the sport is incomprehensible and unknown to most. Though I would have preferred a countr with a bit of its own football culture like Egypt, this is probably the only solution to bringing the world cup to the middle east. I hope Qatar does a good job in making this a world cup for the entire region.

    And regarding Russia my gut is to say I am glad they got it. Russia has been isolated from the rest of the world and is still recovering from the last century. Hosting a world cup could give them a chance to reintegrate with the global community. And plus south Africa jay held a world cup so racism is obviously an addressable issue…

    Both choices aim at progress through changing perceptions. I would have loved an England world cup but the people calling for England/USA or England/Australia are missing the point. The cup is a celebration and opportunity to unite the world and explore new places. I’m excited to try them both.

  11. That would depend on how you define successful, Dark Prince. By the criteria that I mention in the article, it’ll be a massive failure in terms of its legacy

  12. MoMoney – Dont be silly. This has nothing to do with spreading the game and everything to do with money. If you want to spread the game why go to a country with a population of 1.7m? What is Qatar going to do with the 8 50,000 seat stadiums they will be required to build to host this tournament? What will the players do in 120 degree heat? I also lived in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia) and know what the summer heat is like. If you want to encourage football in the Middle East then why not sanction a mini-tournament there and invite some teams and have one stadium built for that purpose? Why the entire World Cup? This is the biggest sporting event in the world and you are telling us that Qatar was a good place to put it? This is one of the most ridiculous decisions FIFA have ever made.

  13. Eastern Europe and he middle east are two the worlds biggest and fastest growing football markets. 2billion people live within 4hour flight of Qatar. It’s definitely about money there’s no denying that, but it’s an opportunity to adress global perceptions of both regions. Nohinf will put the spotlight on both like a world cup. The heat will e an issue but there is no lack of moey in the gulf states to im sure the stadium cost wont be a huge issue. I really think if some north african team qualify and fans from egypt and other countries travel it could be quite a spectacle. An England/USA combo would have been ridiculous. Same with England/Australia. This is the global game not the game for mass media and english speakers. I wanted England to host I’m just saying that now that the decision has been made I am excited to go see two new places…

  14. Totally agree with MoMONEY.

    I’m from India and I love the English Premier League, but from a neutral perspective, its great that Russia and Qatar were chosen among others. I mean, if people just for one second forget about Putin, gas, oil, corruption, etc and look at it from a pure footballing perspective, I’m sure you’ll realise that choosing these 2 countries was a great decision for football as a sport.
    And I must say that those already critising Russia and Qatar are sore losers. Those who love football, just back Russia and Qatar.

    On a related note :- I live in New Delhi. Here we recently hosted the XIX Commonwealth Games. The preparations were abysmal to say the least. Construction of the Stadia and the Games Village finished literally days before the commencement of the Games and there is an ongoing investigation into a scam (which unfolded days before the Games) worth millions of dollars involving the Indian Olympic Committee President among others. Amidst all this, we produced a great Games. Everything went according to plan and there were no incidents security wise(despite several terrorist attacks in the city in the not so distant past). The Games have left a lasting legacy on the city and its people.

    I know that hosting a FIFA World Cup is incredibly more challenging than hosting the CWG but if a country like ours can host the CWG then Russia and Qatar should have no problems hosting the World Cup.

  15. Just so people know, the heat in Qatar isn’t going to be an issue. Please READ their bid for more information regarding this and other issues like, alcohol consumption, usage of stadia after World Cup.

  16. That is another issue. People don’t know much about the bids. David goldblatt, an Englishman and one of the most knowledgeable football historians (author of ‘the ball is round’) was at my uni giving a talk. Afterwards someone asked him what he thought about the bids and who would win. He was pessimistic about England but he mentioned that it was not necessarily because of the FIFA bias. He said the bid was not well thought out and that it tried to appeal to the low risk and financially simple and beneficial world cup that could be held in England. If this was indeed the argument made by England, then I can’t blame FIFA for taking the economically viable option, though it happened to not be te same one the England bid was pushing… Perhaps the England bid was simply not that good?

    The gooner in me wishes it would be in enland but Russia will be a unique and different opportunity. And like Siddhant indirectly said, you have to look past Putin and oil and these issues. My feeling is that hosting a world cup will be te first teptowards people beginning to look past these widespread beliefs/traits/ stereotypes of each region. Like I said I’m excited. And maybe it will get arshavin interested again!!

  17. I think that a very important issue is that in Russia the press is very much under control and will not make any difficulty about possible corruption. And the one that do will … euh… have an accident or something else.
    But in the UK they do like to sniff around in some pots that should be kept closed.

  18. MoMoney – what are you talking about, 2b people live within a 4 hour flight of Qatar? So because it is close to other countries that is a good reason for giving it the WC? That is ridiculous.

    Qatar is basically one city. So all these millions of people are all going to descend on one city and stay……where? How much will hotel rooms cost for that month? This is going to be ultimate WC for filthy rich people.

    Siddhant – I dont know why you are comparing New Delhi to Qatar. New Delhi is a massive city with existing huge tourism and within a massive, populous country. The 2 examples couldnt be further apart. I would love to see the WC go to India, China, or Indonesia. Those are massive countries where you truly could “spread the game”. How can you follow up wonderful decisions to go to Japan/Korea, South Africa, and Russia with the decision to go to …….. Qatar???????

    This is just a ridiculous decision that is based on money, not any practical issues whatsoever, except for the FIFA delegates getting very, very rich.

  19. This whole process of WC selection is lacking in transparency and credibility. There is no sense that the best bids won. Was selection not based purely on the amount of money being thrown around by Russia and Qatar? I am loathe to say bribery and corruption when FIFA clearly is so inept and biased.
    I have no real problem about the WC being hosted in Russia. Having a xenophobic population some of whom are overtly racist has not precluded the world cup being held in Spain or Italy or Germany all of who have hosted the world cup in recent memory.
    At least the Russians are interested in football -wow thats good. I suspect the main criteria is about revenue generation how else can you justify Qatar over Australia and England? Exactly what does staging a world cup in Qatar in summer offer the world game -apart from 12 empty air conditioned stadia after the world cup has finished?

  20. UEFA breaking away from FIFA! What a preposterous thought! Why should they bother doing that just because England bid failed! Remember we got only two votes. How many European voted for us? We have forgotten the arts of cultivating people who matter and diplomacy. If we do take the insane step of walking out of FIFA or UEFA, we can forget about all these talented foreigners who enrich and make the EPL what it is. Let us analyse and reflect after the dust has settled down.

  21. good god – I wish I were as much in ‘la la land’ as some of the posters here… the world would be a very happy smiley place to me.

    I’m glad Russia got it because FIFA can pay their taxes or fuck off – although I’m sure that’s not a problem in Russia. Qatar is bonkers – I wouldn’t mind but they plan to air-condition the stadia… I mean WTF? In a world with issues of peak oil and the energy economy faltering FIFA are holding a a world cup in the middle of nowhere that everyone has to fly too so they can sit in air conditioned stadiums. Bonkers – but there you go… Tax also probably won’t be an issue – neither will changing the law of the land to infringe human rights in order to protect FIFA’s sponsors.

    But hey – I’m soooooo excited at the prospect of another blatently rigged orgasmic spectacle – the sheer nonsense of it all will just make it more watchable I reckon!

  22. Russian I have no problem with, but Quatar? If they can be persuaded to jettison their barbaric, medieval judicial system then maybe, but their attitudes and laws against homosexuality makes this not much better than holding it in apartaid era south Africa.

  23. The point of about 2b people was in support of your claim that it is likely all about money… And I tend to agre that it will probably attract more rich people, though the world cup has never been for the masses. Perhaps in Europe lots of middle class go, but it wasn’t th case in 2010. And I think if a few Arab / north african countries qualify, lots of middle class will travel out there…
    I guess my point is just because it will make FIFA a lot of money does not make it a bad decision. Especially if it takes the role of south Africa 2010 in promoting an entire region and pitting the global spotlight on it. I live in the states and I can tell you the first rection was about safety. People know nothing about the middle east…

  24. I have to say I am a little suprised and saddened by the reaction to the results of the bids. Ya England would have been great. I was almost planning going there to watch the world cup but what exactly are we criticising Russia on the basis of? How much do you know about it? I would say not much. Racism is a problem, but it was the most rampant in England not so long ago, and still is in Spain and Italy. But when these things aren’t really in front of you, it can get blown out of proportion. Not saying it isn’t an issue, but that it must be given a chance to be addressed. It’s not like Russia is full of racists, or even corrupt officials.(corruption is EVERYWHERE) Planes do not fall out of the sky any more than other places. I’m suprised you would believe what the media says at face value..
    Qatar, well, it does seem like a problem about what they do with the stadia later, but the world cup coming to a place like that can really put it on the map in business terms( why is that a bad thing?) and sporting terms as well. It really can act as a catalyst for the growth of the sport. Besides what they do with the stadia is really up to them isn’t it? I’m sure it can be put to good use in other sports or even in football. Why not?

    FIFA is surely corrupt and rotten. But would it have been any less corrupt if the World Cups had come to England and USA/Australia?? I say these countries deserve a chance to show what they are capable of. Much of the criticism does seem to stem from ignorance, and well..if not racism, then bigotry.

  25. As non-British Gooner living in England, I have to say that I am completely neutral on this issue. While I have many reasons to support the english bid, my main problem is the English know-it-all, holier-than-others attitude as amply demonstrated in this article and on this thread so far. It can really drive support away from you.

    First of all, the English bid is the best. I completely believe this to be true. But there is a little problem here: the decision is being made by humans not computers. 22 members of FIFA executive committee decide the host in an election after the bids are presented. However, various factors are considered by voters (in any situation or context) before deciding who to vote for and the best candidates don’t always win. G.W. Bush beat Al Gore and John Kerry (a war hero in a country where everybody kisses the butts of veterans) in consecutive presidential elections.

    The petulance being displayed by the English posters all over the Internet is borne out of their sense of entitlement (another annoying trait). Barack Obama pitched for Chicago 2016 Olympics and lost, the Americans were gracious and wished Rio well. Most are already looking forward to the samba. That should be the attitude. I think we can always find unsavoury things to say about each other but let’s believe more in global brotherhood of men.

    I wish Russia and Qatar all the best in 2018 and 2022.

  26. Bootoomee

    First of all, the English bid is the best. I completely believe this to be true. But there is a little problem here: the decision is being made by humans not computers. 22 members of FIFA executive committee decide the host in an election after the bids are presented.


    I completely agree mate, that is the problem, the problem being that its decided by people who will go for what lines their pockets best and doesn’t bring to light their inherent corruption.

    I don’t think anyone disagrees that Russia put forward a good bid and i’m sure everyone wants those world cups to be good, but surely you can understand why proud English people are a bit peeved we came bottom of the bids, hardly suggests we were ever given a chance.

  27. From a neutral point of view, I was hoping for a Japan win. If you compare to their 3D technology to be screen across the world, Qatar’s bid was a joke! They have a population of 1 million people, yet, they are going to build 10 stadiums just for this event? its clearly stupidity on the voting committee. The money could be better used elsewhere~~ and the highlight is, i doubt Qatar is even going to win any matches at all!

  28. If I don’t win, then you are corrupted.
    If you don’t behave westernly, then you are retarded … or a racist … or hate homosexuals.

    The funny thing is that racism and minority poverty rates in western countries were the main propaganda cards in Soviet Union when they tried to justify the low standards of living.

    Besides how do you know if England will be in position to host WC 2018? Or the US in 2022? They have to get past their financial woes first. After all, British economy can no longer sustain their top football clubs. They have to rely on foreign sugar daddies and resort to selling t-shirts in Shanghai.

    The global balance of power is shifting. You see it reflected in the major sporting events. You’d better get used to it…

  29. When Qatar was announced, my first reaction was how would a principality with a population of 840,000, the size of Connecticut(actually smaller) accommodate the crowd to the WC? I really do not see the wisdom of this choice.

  30. I think its a shame England didn’t get it and Russia did, for many of the reasons that have already been written here already. Since I lost internet connection a minute ago and the bit I wrote about the swiss rambles excellent FIFA article (I am too tired rewrite), I would just like to add another angle to this FIFA discussion which may of been over looked by the British 2018 bid team.

    Since the WC is about money and business, I have been looking at it from a business perspective. The WC’s main football rival ‘products’ are the UEFA CL, Euro’s and the EPL in popularity and commercialisation. I understand why they did it, but I think we could of done it a bit differently.

    So as UEFA is directly linked to FIFA, the EPL’s continued international growth and popularity around the world could be considered the main threat to FIFA’s WC. In our bid we showcased the EPL’s exsisting and growing global appeal a lot, which probably did not go down too well with the egotistical FIFA hierarchy.

    However I am under no illusion that our bid presentation was the main stumbling block when its obvious that England’s problem is that it does not have deep enough pockets to get the WC and as such I would rather we don’t waste millions on bidding for the tournament in the near future again.

    Contrary to some other WC previous hosts, I believe that we would of been able to make a profit on the WC as most of the infrastructure is already in place or will be after the Olympic games. Attracting a lot of foreign football financial investment would of been relatively easy too. This is why it really feels like a lost opportunity. Wembley stadium was even redeveloped with hosting the 2018 WC in mind. I now wonder how many meaningless friendlies will have to be played there to pay for it now.

    What’s now very clear, is that FIFA decided against England for a whole host of non footballing reasons and anyway if this year’s boring WC is anything to go by, the tournament is at risk of loosing its prestige and importance. There is a growing stench of corruption attached to the FIFA WC which will not go away and threatens to overshadow what takes place on the pitch.

    I will however say that despite all the negatives, I am still hoping to go to Brazil for their 2014 WC, whom I think will be a great host and put on a vibrant tournament. More so now because I have no desire at all to go to Russia’s or Qatar’s WC.

  31. Eventually it was England themselves who blew their bid. C’mon England could have easily won this bid, but their over-aggressive media had a lot to do with this failure. Also the extreme arrogance in the England camp.

    As for Russia and Qatar, they are both different regions and both constitute different culture. I think people may have had problems with South Africa as well but it turned out to be successful. And we have look into the hidden msgs that Fifa want to give – Promoting the game of football to different parts of the world.

  32. I agree with commentators who say that the loss of the world cup to the US reflects our diminished standing in the world. I wonder, what percentage of Tea Partiers every touched a soccer ball?

  33. Sorry Tony but your bid just wasn’t good enough! Reminds me of England’s botched attempt to sign Scolari. Bad management. As a holder of an English certificate in Marketing it doesn’t bode well for me when you guys keep flopping. What I found surprising was the English assumption that they deserved the world cup. It’s like the USA’s botched attempt to hold the cup in 1986. When they bid for 1994 they were more humbled and professional.Even China flopped in it’s bid for the Olympics in 2000. But humble doesn’t cut it, professional does. You don’t sell the world cup like you would a Rolls Royce to an English man. It’s a diverse world out there and when dealing with diverse people bid with that in mind. As for the cost hosting the world cup is never logical. It’s an expensive party that never pays back. But people want to party. As Charles dickens said in “Hard Times” , “people must be amused!” My own preferences were Netherlands/Belgium and Australia. But well we don’t always get what we want!

  34. From what I’ve read Qatar have promised to dismantle the stadiums (or is it stadia) and donate them to poorer countries (they’ll reassemble them in other countries!) for the development of the game. All at their cost. The official line is that it’s for the development of the game, the unofficial one is that it’s to bribe the voters from these regions. I have not seen this in an official document but just during random browsing on the net so cannot confirm the authenticity but it seems to make a lot of sense.

    Here is an interesting (for want of a better adjective) video showing the planned stadiums in Qatar.

    Opulent? Impressive? Crazy?

  35. though i am not an englishman i somehow wanted to see the wc in england.maybe,the hard work of beckham,david cameron and prince william made me think that way.i think it is really unfair of fifa that they don’t want the wc to take place in england.england and germany has the best infrastructure to make that happen.and watching the emirates in world cup is a dream come true.

    But,isn’t it disgusting when people like adrian durham says we should boo arshavin.they won,fair enough.i don’t think fifa will allow the world cup unless this kind of racist behaviour would go away.btw,shava was very funny on the stage.he was looking great too.

  36. And I’m sorry to say this is a shocking article that tarnishes the image of this wonderful site.

    Are you saying there is no racism in England? Spain? Portugal?

    I’ll give you an example and you tell me what you think.

    Sometimes people post links of my articles on various forums. I get to know about it because I can see visitors coming to the blog from there. When I have time I go around to these forums just to see what people are saying. Normally it’s nice because I get to see how people in Vietnam, Sweden, Indonesia, and other countries talk about the game (even if it is through some vague translations by google).

    Occasionally I’ve also visited some forums with English fans and a fair few times I’ve seen comments like “It’s useless because it’s written by a Paki” or “I don’t even what to read what is written by a Paki” (not exact quotes) and stuff like that. I don’t care about it because I know there are all kinds of idiots in this world and they’re in almost all countries. Being an Indian I’d not claim India is better than other countries.

    I don’t think taking the World Cup away from some place because of racism is a good idea. In fact, bring the World to that country and tackling their ignorance would be a good way of dealing with it. Whether FIFA/Russia intend to do that and will be able to do that is a different discussion.

    I do agree that financial issues are important. I’m not sure if Russia has a better economy or worse than England (sorry I’m that ignorant about world economies) so I don’t want to comment on it.

    As far as Qatar goes I believe, despite my ignorance, that they’ll not have a problem with money and they might just produce a breathtaking spectacle. It’s too far away and we don’t know how many wars and terrorist attacks the world will go through before that, so right now I don’t really care about what happens in 2022.

    Anyway, a very disappointing piece, especially given the standards of this site and those of the author who has been excellent so far.

  37. As someone who cares not for the WC games as a whole and who did not really bother to follow the run up to the vote ,I ‘m glad to see that a new nation is to host it .Russia will be an interesting choice with its rich history and beautiful cities.From the limited material that I’d read ,I felt England were too cocksure and had an overtly unfounded sense of entitlement.A bit of humility would never have hurt but the media’s aggressive attacks on Fifa probably sealed your bid.
    I agree wholeheartedly with Bootoomee – draw the line and get on with it.No more negative vibes.

  38. I think the plausible explanation for the selections is based on ‘equal chance’ and fairness. As with any world sports body, example the Olympic council and their selection(s).

    1998 – France (Europe)
    2002 – Korea/Japan (Asia)
    2006 – Germany (Europe)
    2010 – South Africa (African continent)
    2014 – Brazil (South America)
    2018 – Russia (Asia)
    2022 – Qatar (Middle East)

    Everything else (financial, infrastructure, football etc) is secondary.

  39. I agree with Desi Gunner that this article is not up to the standards of the site. Normally, the site doesn’t take things at face value and actually goes in for facts. In this case the article has run with a pre determined agenda that FIFA is corrupt (on which we are all agreed) and that England deserved to win the World cup and that Russia is bad, and Qatar will be useless because they don’t have a rich footballing history (supposedly).

    I have to say I’m extremely disappointed. Good to see a few voices like bootoomee and Dark Prince actually supporting the countries that got it in the end.

    Another reason why I feel England should NOT have won over say Qatar, or even Russia is actually what gooner gal said above. That England already has infrastructure in place. I thought the whole point of bidding and spending money was that it would improve or create infrastructure for the future. If Qatar is actually gonna dismantle the stadia then that argument doesn’t strictly hold, but will stil benefit the region.

    Also, what is wrong with having commercial reasons. The whole world economy(which this article also talks about) is a result of a network of commercial activities. Corruption is a problem and commercial gain cannot be the sole criteria. but I don’t see why commercial reasons have to be disparaged. I’d say it’s important.

  40. Oh and even among some fair comments there was mention of look past Putin? Why is that? Nobody says we have to look past Cameron, or Bush and Obama, when the bids are put in by Western Countries. Double standards me thinks. Besides, isn’t sport supposed to be viewed away from politics? Anyway, this article and the hypocritical attitude of many people here has actually annoyed me.

  41. Actually I disagree with you DesiGunner @ 6.04, this article does no such thing, I am quite sure Phil can defend himself, but I would like to say this in response to what you have said about his article because I am annoyed with them that I have had to stop work to respond.

    Firstly Desi how can you compare and use as an example the anonomous nature of the internet which is often the solace and refuge of prejediced cowards as a barometer of how racist an entire country is? Take Arsenal FC for example, it has its share of prejudiced idiot fans that get online and spout nonsense, they are in the minority, but via the internet can be quite vocal.

    When was the last time you saw inside a EPL or other major english sports stadium overtly racist banners hanging, or recently heard racial abuse being hurled on mass at players of different cultures in english football matches by the crowd? I am not saying that it doesn’t exsist, but would definately argue that England is certainly more embracive than Russia.

    Also tell me how Russia will feel the need to improve, or consider changing as a nation if the prevailing racist overtones in Russian football was not even a cause for concern to FIFA during the bidding process? To my knowledge FIFA have never made a public comment on it or stipulated that improvement was needed in this area.

    Also I think the WC should be taken away from countries that do not even attempt to address racisim and respect other cultures as it simply goes against the ideals and spirit of the WC. FIFA alledgedly want to foster some sort of utopian global society through their particular brand of football so I would of thought respecting different nationalities would of been at the heart of this.

    Frankly I would also like to say as someone whom enjoys reading your blog’s articles (mainly your match analysis), I am very disappointed by your over the top comments and reaction to Phil’s reasonable article on this site.

  42. and i thought u were smarter than that
    and u do ur research well… Shame
    but in the end u r one of those who pretends to know it all
    first the stadiums in Quatar are made with materials that can be dismantled after the world cup and sold as construction materials or as a whole stadiums for countries who wants to host the WC in the following years
    SECOND and most importantly ur talking about airplanes falling from the sky… haha … really IRONIC how u guys r brainwashed
    just go and check this link:
    its called 911 Loose Change (full-length)
    one of many videos that shows the reality of how ppl in western civilizations r brainwashed then if u r interested look for “zeitgeist”
    ull get an insight of how the world is runned

  43. @ goonerGal

    I know your comment was not addressed to me, but how do you know racism is a problem in Russia? How do you know they aren’t a very tiny majority? Maybe they do have more space to operate. Maybe they are extremely racist. Your country (presuming you are English) have addressed it quite well relatively recently. But does that mean you can moralise to others and say that they can’t or won’t do it? How do you know the authorities there are not trying to clamp down on it? Again this is not to say that FIFA aren’t crooked or the bidding process is perfect. But that doesn’t take away from the Russian or Qatari bids.

  44. Further more I would also like say, if FIFA always intended to give the tournament to countries and continents that had never staged the event before, then they should of not been duplicitous in encouraging countries like England and the US to bid for the WC. Putting together a bid proposal cost us around 20-25m, which I would love to have refunded somehow.

    Also I don’t see how England have been ‘cocky’ over this process, we have done nothing unusal, us wheeling out Becks and Prince William is no different from Ruud repping for Holland and Zidane for Qatar. We simply spearheaded our bid campaign with popular and recognisable figures whom have global appeal. It demonstrated how serious we were about the england bid.

    If anything they seem to of been a bit naive or inept, with like I said in earlier post about the presentation of the bid – promoting the rival EPL on FIFA platform and believing that we had paid enough to individuals that could be bought, there is always a risk of last minute ‘gazumping’ in these kind of shady deals.

  45. I don’t think the English were ‘cocky’ during the bidding process. But it is being holier than thou about it now. I’d say David Beckham did well to congratulate both russia and qatar. But for the most part, the reaction has been disappointing.

  46. Incidentally, almost all bidding processes have some form of corruption or kickbacks. I remember in the days leading up to the Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi, some people just ran with the India only got the CWG awarded to them because they paid 100,000 pounds to each of the member countries line. On the basis of one article which said this. What they didn’t mention was that the article, in one line at the bottom said that Canada had offered 70,000. So I guess that just means it’s the norm and the winning bid is usually just an auction. Not just in FIFA.

  47. I did address DesiGunner because I think quite highly of most of his comments and blog in general and think he is wrongon this occaision.

    But in answer to your question Shard, I know people of ethnic origin that have lived over there and there is the high profile incident involving the departure of Peter Odemwingie from a russian football club. Russian officials actually tried make light of the matter.

    Since I have already explained why I do think racism should be considered when the WC is awarded, in my previous post I won’t repeat myself.

  48. 3rd-i I have seen that rubbish film before – but I never thought that someone would post it on here for serious discussion.

    RE: Qatar – since ‘the price is right’ Fifa have convienently modified their organisational goal of leaving the host nation with a lasting football legacy it seems.

  49. What ethnic origin? I’m asking because I want to know more about racism in Russia.
    Well, Balotelli left Italy for that reason too didn’t he? It definitely needs to be addressed, but to say that it won’t be just because they are Russia doesn’t make sense to me. Also, random incidents can spout up anywhere. Hooliganism is largely dead in England supposedly. Birmingham showed otherwise.

    However, my main point is that the west tend to judge evryne by their own standards and doesn’t consider the history and culture of the country under discussion as also the time frame of their development.. Anyway, this is getting too political. Maybe you feel England would have been better. Fair enough. But that doesn’t make Russia’s bid wrong or bad. They won. Now they should have the chance to show what they can do. Keeping an open mind surely is the right thing to do.

  50. “Sadly, it’s a picture of a minority group in Russia – it really makes you feel sick but that is what it is.”

    Lokomotiv might not have been fined over the Odemwingie banner, but in the past other Russian clubs have been punished.

    In 2007 Spartak Moscow were fined about £13,000 when some of its fans held up a banner “Monkey go home” at a game after Welliton joined the club.

    And two years ago Uefa fined Zenit St Petersburg £38,000 after Marseille players were targeted by some of the Russian club’s fans.

    “Our disciplinary committee fined Zenit for racist conduct by their fans, the use of pyrotechnics and the display of a political banner during their match against Marseille,” said a Uefa statement in 2008.

    This is from the same article you gave the link to goonergal incidentally. So all it shows is one incident of racism which went unpunished by the authorities. And forgive me, but I don’t think BBC is the most reliable source when it comes to reporting on Russia.

  51. If qatar and its footballing legacy were actually the gripe people had they would have brought it up when the bid was placed. Not when they’ve won it. Use it to criticise FIFA by all means. But don’t criticise Qatar. Surely it’s up to their government to decide how to spend their money??

  52. I think its not right to accuse other countries of the problems which exists in almost every country. Also i think more than hosting a world cup, england should rather concentrate on winning one bcoz thats something which is completly in their own hands and to be 2018 looks like a potential England win.

    But coming back to the topic, i think its quite obvious the England has everything set up in place for hosting a World Cup. But i dont kno what is new that they can offer to the world. To look at it more practically, England dont have to do anything more to host a game now but Russia on the other hand has lots of potential to come upto England’s footballing standards. Lots of construction, which leads to lots of employment opportunity, lots of new footballin fans, especially the younger generation over there wich needs a WC to promote football and possibly even planning for something very special that England cannot provide. England on its current state has nothing much to improve upon, they have great stadiums, almost the whole population including the youth are interested in football. And i think this applies with Spain/Portugal as well. Thats why Russia seems to be a very good decision in my opinion.

    Comin to Qatar, i think again it was a bold decision but still it was not that as bad idea as it sounds. I know for sure that they have enough money to make such events extraordinary. And looking at their proposed plans, it looks awesome. Plus the middle east too can be a new venture for football like it was for Africa. Infact i wouldn’t be surprised if the Qatar WC will be the biggest event in Middle east at that time.

    As for the future, again, dont be surprised to see the likes of China, India or to bid and win to host the WC in the future.

  53. @ Dark Prince

    LOL. India is not even close to that. No football stadia in the country exist really. Certainly none that conform to world standards. maybe 50 years into the future.

  54. “Follow the money”

    It all stinks to hell.

    The leader of the Mafia in Russia, Mr Putin, had this one sown up a long while ago.

    Qatar. Really?

  55. Wrong story

    The one you should be running is this:

    What was the deal struck by Arsenal FC with the powers that be in international football to secure, within 24 hours of England being ritually slaughtered, a tie between Argentina (whose FIFA delegate hates England more than anything on earth) and Portugal, whose scion Jose Mourinho was a major player in undermining England’s bid.

    Arsenal FC is owned by a Swiss Belgian (whose country of birth opposed England and whose residency is the home of the FIFA head who also set out to stop England), an American (whose delegate DIDN’T support England), an Uzbek (who supported Russia).

    We hear a lot about Arsenal’s honour.

    I’d like you to comment on this…………..

  56. @shard- dude, we completed the CWG stadium in the final months time….the formula 1 race track is currently started building even though less than one year is left for a race to come on it. Dont underestimate our corrupt politicians!! 😛 they’ll certainly fill their pockets but also do their job!! Lol

  57. @dark Prince

    I agree. We certainly have the capability to build the infrastructure. The corruption aside, we actually did a pretty good job. Formula 1 though is a private venture for the most part and hence has more chance of success.

    Unfortunately what we lack is the logistical ability to host anything of the magnitude of the world cup. Even with the CWG, there were so many issues with the ticketing, the transport, even the crowd control at venues. Road signs and maps were horrible. And whats worse is that these issues were not really highlighted in the media because even they are used to accepting these difficulties as normal.

    Even more so, I don’t see any political will to build football infrastructure. It doesn’t bring them any return right now and also doesn’t draw them votes, does it. I think we’ll probably have an entire squad of Indians playing in Europe and across Asia before we get even one world class stadium.

  58. I for one am gutted that we will not see a World Cup here in England but then the flip side is that at least we dont have to fill up the stadiums knowing that all that money is flowing into their pockets, tax free. There is nothing stopping us having the World Cup parties anyway!!

    They should have said from the beginning that breaking new frontiers is their thing (in itself not a bad thing) so nations with developed football infrastructure can taylor their bids accordingly. Russia isnt a bad choice to be fair and eventually they will have to get used to people being from all cultures, a World Cup is a like a short sharp shock treatment.

    Quatar is a joke as a host – yes they have lots of money, yes I am sure the stadium etc will be all very beautiful and new but it will still be a desert and the footballers will still all be too bloody hot to run around – shit at 27 degrees all I can do is lie on beach and get a tan! Cant you just see the quality of football being really poor and slow.

    I dont think it is a coincidence that the two countries known for ‘throwing money’ around have won. Last pay day for a lot of the current ExCo members (hence two hosts, double pay days) before they retire to their villas.

    It would be nice to think that next time, 2026 the government will learn from its lessons and say f*** you FIFA and not bother putting in a bid. But we wont, there will be a lot of new faces in 2018 on the FIFA Committee and they will flutter their eyelashes at us, promise us many things and then slap us down. Even now everyone knows that if China submits a bid for 2026 they will win it.

    Iraq or Iran for 2030 anyone? Or what about the Faroe Islands?

  59. @Mustafa
    What’s wrong with China for WC 2026? CV included the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2010 Shanghai World Expo and 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games… and counting. China do not need money politics.

    Didn’t the critics spoke out against the humam rights, cultural, environment, infrastructure etc and didn’t China deliver?

  60. @ andrew chua

    Spot on. China can surely deliver. However, it won’t be in 2026. 2 consecutive world cups in Asia will not happen. It’ll probably go to America or Europe.

  61. I agree with Shard and Andrew. As I said in a previous post I would love to see the WC in China, India, or Indonesia. Huge populations, growing economies. That would be great. I think Russia is a great selection as well. Yeah they have issues, but huge country, passion for football, all good stuff.

    It is just Qatar I cannot understand for the life of me. Tiny country, overwhelming heat, no football heritage, poor human rights, no democracy, no existing infrastructure, no possibility of a “fun” fan experience, nothing. Except money. Lots and lots of money.

  62. @ paul C

    Well, let’s see. Money can certainly take care of the infrastructure and supposedly about the heat, and I’m sure about the fun experience as well. As regards football heritage I am unaware of it but that doesn’t mean that the passion for the game doesn’t exist. So what does that leave us with. Tiny country. well yes, but it would probably be an event for the entire region. Poor human rights(supposedly) and lack of democracy I’m afraid are no criteria to debar a country from hosting such events. Indeed, China isn’t a democracy and you yourself want it to have a world cup.

  63. Oh incidentally. I remember when in school, being shown a film on the dangers of global warming and climate change. It started in the year 2030 with China winning the World Cup final on home soil I think it was too. Of course that was because most other countries were flooded out but whatever.. 🙂

  64. @Andrew Chua – I never said there was anything wrong with the WC being in China(just like there isnt in Russia or for that matter Qatar except for the quality of football which isnt very high at international level anyway), but I suspect the process of bidding to host the WC against China seems a bit pointless. As a country of 1 billion plus, never had the WC and a limitless pot of money (like Russia and Qatar). Tho FIFA do need bidders to believe that they can win it, to send out the message that the process is winnable but lets face it, this entire proces showed that no matter how good your bid is, politicking is what is needed – how much ass you kiss and for how long.

    In that way, I am proud that we didnt win it, I choose to interpret that as FIFA saying we are not dodgy/savvy enough to have it and long may that continue. F*** FIFA. Apparently Blatter reminded the Committee about the Sunday Times/Panorama shows and prob implicitly suggested that all their dodgy dealings (money laundering, backhanders etc) may be subject to further scrutiny if the WC came here.

    I agree China dont need money politics, they are seriously powerful themselves and I suspect FIFA need them more than China need FIFA. If the Chinese govt can persuade their people to spend like westerners, then China dont need anyone else!

    And if they want it in 2026, they will surely get in 2026.

    I dont know about anybody else, where the WC ends up is not really the issue, it is the process of getting there and the fact that 15m was spent on a process that suggests we never had a chance.

  65. Shard – money can only take care of the heat in terms of making this an indoor WC, a TOTAL indoor WC, with fans shuttling between air-conditioned malls, hotels and stadiums. Fun. I dont know if you have lived in the Middle East but I lived in Saudi for 7 years and you just dont go outside during the day. We lived in the desert where there was no humidity (zero percent humidity) but when we went to the coast it was overwhelming, with 150 degrees and 100% humidity. Awful. That is what fans and players will have to deal with. So everything will be indoors. This also will affect the “fun experience” for fans, as well no alcolhol, no public displays of anything that could be considered lewd, and a complete lack of things to do (except be in air-conditioned malls, hotels, and stadia).

    Football passion and heritage SHOULD be a criteria for hosting the WC. It is the WC. Now it is going to a country of 1.7m people where foreigners will be expected to provide virtually all the atmosphere for the tournament. Rich foreigners of course, because they are the only ones that will be able to afford this tournment. The only things that should override football passion and heritage are the infrastrcuture and economic possibilities of the WC (such as in the USA).

    And when you say this will be an event for the entire region, what are you referring to? Average Saudi’s are not allowed to leave their country. Iranians? Nope. Iraqis? Maybe by then, but who will be able to afford it? There are hundreds of thousands of Indians and Bangladeshis in Qatar but they are migrant workers and couldnt afford games.

    Human rights and democracy should indeed be used as criteria. China is a massive country where sport and exposure can affect those things greatly. Their 1b people make their own arguments. In Qatar, with only 1.7m people, the potential exposure to normal people is far less.

    Australia had a great bid. USA had a great bid. Qatar had money. Qatar won. I think it is an insane decision.

    I just dont see how Qatar won this bid. I thought Japan/Korea was an outstanding decision. I thought South Africa was an inspired decision. Wonderful. I was in South Africa when the WC was awarded there and you could see that it was going to be awesome. Russia was an excellent (though risky) decision. Compared to those others, or compared to the potential of a USA or Australia WC, Qatar seems to me one the most bizarre decision ever.

  66. PS I work as part of teams that tender for large scale public contracts and usually you set clear guidelines for bids and also how you weight them, which are more important than others. It ensures that you get relevant bids. And bidders can get a sense of where their weaknesses were and either do something about it or accept that they will fail on that part. From what I read, the English bid team never really felt that – they thought they stood a good chance and the evaluation of their bid was, by all accounts, very high.

    Agree with Paul C – a WC in that region is going to do what exactly for them other than raise their international profile and become the new Dubai? Make them watch football more? I thought the Premier League already did that!

  67. Err phil, i am not english but i live and work here and like most untoldites i am glad fifa has picked up their great bundle of shite and headed of into the wilds of siberia. FICK FUFA

  68. I am loath to say that I agree with comments (some) made by Dark Prince. There’s this thing about England ‘expecting’ to win every internatonal competition that they enter and when they lose alway belly ache.

    Qatar will be too hot..’for who’ (the Europeans?) Like football aint played in any country where the sun shines. I really get pissed off with this British view point that they are the best have the best and every other nation is shit.

  69. Gooner Gal,

    Firstly, thanks for the kind words.

    Based on your comment on racism what I understand is that you’re saying anonymous racism (and we have no idea of knowing how widespread it is) is fine but it should not be there in the stadiums? If that is the case I’m fairly certain that at least for the duration of the World Cup there won’t be much racism in the Russian grounds!

    My problem here is that this seems like a reactionary article where the author is affected more by his disappointment rather than a balanced article which he normally writes. And my response (which I don’t think was over the top) was the same that I’d have if I saw Wenger’s team playing like Big Shams.

    I agree Racism is an issue. But it has been an issue for a long time and I don’t see the point of bringing it up when the bid has been lost. If Untold constantly monitors the football world and writes about racist issues I’ll be happy to support them. When this issue is raised immediately after the bid has been lost it seems to imply that the other candidates were completely clean. The example I gave was to show this is not the case.

    Similarly the economical issues have been around for a long, long time. Should FIFA give the world cup to only those economies that can prove they can handle it? Seems like a good idea but isn’t it another issue that seems odd just after the bid has been lost? It’s not like the economical situation has suddenly changed.

    Based on the arguments in this article the bids from Russia, Spain and some others should have been rejected a long time ago. Once we know these bids have not been rejected the points mentioned in this article are moot. One might think it’s the failure to accept these realities that cost England because they kept promoting themselves on these points while the rest of the world had moved on!

    I’d also like to say that personally I’d have loved to see the 2018 WC in England and the 2022 one in the US. So I too am disappointed. But I’d not want to condemn Russia or Qatar. FIFA, their processes, corruptions – yes. It’s a mess no doubt but it’s also the real world. There is a difference between saying “FIFA has shady officials and corrupt processes” and saying “Russia didn’t deserve the WC” or “Qatar didn’t deserve the WC”. I feel this article ventured onto the wrong path when it attacked Russia and other countries.

  70. Paul C

    I have to say when I heard Qatar I too was less than enthused. I was hoping for Australia personally. If you’re point is to criticise FIFA then I’m fully behind you. But I think to criticise Qatar without giving them a chance is wrong. Ya their weather sucks but people’ll deal with it. It most certainly will be a different World cup due to the heat but it might still be fun.

    As regards Alcohol, I’m not sure, but I really do think they will have drinking zones or something near the stadium. As for anythin that might be considered lewd. Well, when you go to a country you are expected to conform with their laws regardless of whether you agree with them. Surely respecting someone else includes that. After all, the UK wouldn’t accept many things in their borders, which may be common practice in say Africa, or Middle East or India even. I don’t think a month of restrained behaviour is too much to ask of guests.

    What makes a football heritage? Is it how long it has existed there? How much of a following it has? How much it’s won? The fact is as long as there is a passion for it, it should be acknowledged. Even if the passion is markedly absent, it can and quite often is built up. An example would be the commonwealth games here in Delhi. Nobody here really follows athletics, gymnastics, boxing, wrestling, badminton, table tennis etc. But for 2 weeks the nation was hooked. And some of that has carried over. Some athletes have become household names and this in turn has provided a boost to sport at both grassroot level and in terms of sponsorship. Passion can be built up.

    Now, who exactly will watch it. Well, similar fears were expressed regarding South Africa. Also, I’m not sure but I think many countries in the Gulf actually have a very high Per capita GDP. Now I know those figures are skewed due to income disparity, but I also know that tickets to a Bryan Adams concert in the region cost more than the do in the UK and they still sell out. I’m not sure if the Sheikhs buy all the tickets and distribute them to their friends, or if people have money. I suspect they aren’t as ‘poor’ as we would expect.

    All in all. I think now that they have it, they deserve support and a chance to showcase their take on the world game. Even if it’s not the normal or ‘ideal’ thing.

  71. Shard – I always think a good test for whether a country should host something like the WC is “if nobody showed up from other countries, would the stadiums be empty?”. I dont think Qatar passes that test. You mention South Africa, but that country has a passionate football following. Football has long been the sport of the townships. Selling out the WC Final in Qatar will be a given, but what about the 32 first round games in these massive stadiums that Qatar is building?

    And the WC should be about a country. A WC in Qatar will be about one city. Everything will be in and around one city. Everything.

    Delhi is different as well (I love Delhi so I am biased. Many good memories there.) since it is so populous. In a city that size and in such a sports mad country the Commonwealth Games were always going to be a cracking success just so long as everything got built on time!!!!

    And I am not criticizing Qatar at all. The couple of times I have been there it has seemed a pleasant enough place. I am criticizing the awarding of a WC to Qatar. Surely Qatar should have built a stadium and invited some international teams to come and play there (like cricket in the middle east) and seen how things went before they were given a WC. It just seems like they were allowed to jump the queue and go ahead of countries who, by independent analysis, had far superior bids. That is my objection.

  72. @ Desi Gunner

    That’s spot on. Bringing it up just after the lost bid, and the way it was brought up in, really was disappointing.

    Why have I never read your blog? You do have one right? By the way, where in India are you based?

  73. @ Paul C

    Ya. That’s fair. The bid should have gone somewhere else is a matter of opinion and maybe even fact. But to disparage Qatar and the work they put in to their bid just seems like sour grapes.

    Just to be clear I’m not accusing you of this. But this article seemed to do so. Why would air conditioned stadia have Greenpeace up in arms any more than underground heating in football pitches across Europe, and basketball and NHL venues in the USA? To criticise for criticism’s sake is bad enough. To use it to preach and moralise while trying to mask your own disappointment is just something that really annoyed me.

  74. @ Paul C

    And regarding the democracy and human rights thing, the question is who should judge what constitutes human rights violations and what is acceptable. I’m loathe to trust the West in this regard because it’s often, and in fact I’d say mostly, used by the governments to further their own political, and commercial interests. Personally I feel politics and sport should be kept seperate unless there is an extremely overriding concern, in which case it should come from the top and the government should suspend any form of interaction or trade with them in which sport can be included.

  75. Shard – oh, I am not dissapointed at all about England losing the WC. I LOVE IT IN FACT!!!!! Fantastic news. I think Russia hosting the WC was a great decision. Everyone put in huge amounts of work to their bid. In fact you could say that Qatar put in the least amount because none of their stuff is built yet. Their entire bid was “we could do this”. It was a triumph of spin and PR over concrete achievement. I have no doubt that Qatar will have everything ready on time. They will throw the money at the problem.

    To be honest I didnt actually read most of the article. The moment it started criticizing Russia for racism I stopped reading. One of my earliest memories in football is being at Highbury when Liverpool fans were throwing bananas and making monkey noises at John Barnes on his debut for their club so England can never talk about racism.

    As far as human rights go that is a difficult one. But the fact is that there is general acceptance as to what constitutes human rights violations globally. And politics and sport are definately interwoven when it comes to something as huge as the World Cup.

    For me what it comes down to is that most independent analysis had Australia and the USA way ahead as far as technical considerations. And yet Qatar, a tiny country of 1.7m with sweltering summer heat, limited things for fans to do, completely unbuilt infrastructure, AND some concerns in recent years over human rights, won the bid.

    And remember when it came to Aparthied, it was the sporting bodies that boycotted South Africa first, the governments only followed much later. Governments are followers. They respond to things, they seldom lead the way. Sports can always be a huge influence on policy, far quicker than governments tend to be.

  76. DesiGunner: just because FIFA doesn’t regard my concerns as actual concerns doesn’t mean my concerns are invalid. Just look at the organisation, the level of qualification of some of the representatives: I’d go as far as to say many of them will have no idea of the economic backdrop of the Iberian bid.

    It’s a shame you didn’t like the article, but I totally reject your criticism that the article doesn’t have any substances to the arguments. It was emotive – I’m still irritated by england’s loss now. However at no point did I go “england are the best” and refuse to put forward any arguments and evidence.

    Feel free to point out what you consider to be weak arguments, I’m curious to see what you disliked so much. But to disregard my article as it is emotive instead of actually assessing the arguments is foolish. I also totally neglected to mention the problem of hooliganism in Russia, which is a huge concern for me.

  77. Paul C

    Are you suggesting Qatar be banned by FIFA? Or indeed other countries? I don’t think you are asking for that actually, and I totally see your point about govt being followers. But you can’t say FIFA should not have given the World Cup to Qatar because of human rights violations. All you can ask for really is that the FA refuse to play there and hope that other countries will follow suit.

    I’m sorry if this sounds like I’m criticising you. Far from it. I think you’ve put your points across very reasonably. I’m just having a theoretical argument at the moment 🙂

  78. Shard – no, I dont think Qatar should be banned whatsoever by FIFA. There are plenty of countries with “concerns”. But an organization such as FIFA can make very strong statements about such things by not awarding a World Cup to that country, especially when their bid is not particularly strong compared to its competitors. Qatar’s bid was judged to be the highest risk of the countries incolved and scored low on all technical standards. All that plus the fact that there are enormous concerns over the way that the labor that builds all these gleaming stadiums will be treated should have excluded Qatar from winning the WC even before you talk about the heat and tiny population and geographical size of the country. I just dont think Qatar’s bid was very strong once you move beyond the sheer weight of money they can throw at the issue. In fact I think their bid was extremely weak beyond the sheer weight of money they could throw at the issue.

  79. @ Phil

    If i may, it was the tone of the article along with the timing of it, that disappointed me. It just seemed to want to criticise the winning countries (along with others) but did not quote any statistics, or indeed carry out any in depth analysis. Quite frankly, it suprised me to see something like that on this site. Talking about England’s merits, while criticising the other countries on the basis of very little seemed to indicate a certain hypocrisy. Concerns about issues is well and good, but I would rather have seen, indeed expected, to see a let’s hope they can get it sorted, rather than saying they don’t deserve it.

  80. @ Paul C

    FIFA is useless. We are all agreed on that. Qatar probably should not have won, and it can even be argues that Russia shouldn’t have won(with which I would disagree but that’s a matter of opinion) But none of that is Qatar’s fault or Russia’s fault, which is the only thing I’m saying.

  81. Each to their own, but given my criticisms included a dire air safety record, concerns over infrastructure and highly overt racism (Russia) and unprecedented concerns of the solvability of two countries (Spain and Portugal) I think the concerns are more than valid and not in any way false!

    Naturally I trumpet England’s credentials, that’s the argument I’m putting forward. But I don’t feel I was talking nonsense, in terms of sustainability the English bid was unrivalled, as FIFA themselves said.

    Ultimately it’s all subjective, but if the bids were assessed emotively and on their technical merits (what Wenger said he thinks should happen) England surely come out near the top, not last?

  82. Shard – absolutely, I am not blaming or criticizing Qatar at all. I just think the decision to award the WC there was a ridiculous one. I have nothing at all against Qatar. I just think it was a nonsense decision by FIFA which didnt take into account the enjoyment of players or fans at all, merely the financial rewards that FIFA could enjoy.

  83. @Phil

    That is an indictment of FIFA. With which I would completely agree. But how is any of that Russia’s or Qatar’s fault? To criticise them for winning is wrong.

    As regards the concerns over air safety. I’ve actually noticed quite clearly the bias with which western news agencies report any air accident in Russia. It’s something I sort of noticed well over a year ago. I remember looking up the air safety statistics at the time and it wasn’t factual that Russia’s record is worse. UK did have a very good record, but the US fared worse, as did Denmark or Sweden(I don’t remember) Also, considering it’s size and conditions in many parts of the country accidents are not unexpected in the sense that they are more at risk. You did no furnish any statistics to show that Russia fares badly as regards air safety.

    Similarly, racism isn’t an issue to be mentioned without going in depth. I don’t think Russians are racist, you do. Mostly it’s just a result of perceptions that the media creates. I would like some statistics to show how racism is rampant. One incident does not cut it, nor does it make it any worse than say Italy or Spain, which is not an excuse for it though.

    The other thing is, as desiGunner also put it, the timing of it. If it had appeared as an analysis before the results were announced then fair enough. After the fact, I expected, as I said, a little more humility rather than choosing to ridicule the ones who did win.

  84. Fair enough on the air safety comments. I didn’t see the statistics myself but read the argument elsewhere that I considered reliable. Not the best journalism ever, but with a time constraint on the writing of the article I felt it wasn’t an unacceptable shortcut.

    I don’t think all Russians are racist (I steer clear of generalisations like that at all costs to avoid causing offence) but the Zenit siuation and the banana sign are hardly subjective evidence. My point is simply that if that doesn’t worry FIFA, then what does?

    Ironically enough, I did intend to write the piece before the results were out (indeed I updated the facebook page along the same lines as the article a few hours before the announcement) but Uni work meant that I pushed it back. That undoubtedly influenced the article, but I don’t feel that I ridiculed the winners, I had arguments against their suitability. Any ridicule was directed at FIFA for their dozy “criteria” for awarding the World Cup to a country.

  85. @ phil

    As far as I can tell now, your intention was to criticise FIFA and perhaps express annoyance with a bidding process which through it’s arbitrariness, or corruption, denied you the chance to have a World Cup in your own country. That is entirely understandable and reasonable. I just wish you hadn’t gone about the other countries in just quite the same tone. Maybe it was a result of rushing the article or adding things in later, but the overall effect seemed to be the same xenophobic, sensationalist stuff that is so prevalent among the media and indeed across the blogosphere. As such, it was very unexpected from a site like Untold and indeed from you. That’s my opinion anyway.

  86. Fair enough, I respect your opinion. I didn’t think it read like that personally (xenopohbia and a knowledge of sovereign debt economics don’t usually go hand in hand!) but I suppose these are the issues that crop up once the subject is a little more emotive.

  87. @ DesiGunner 6.53pm
    You said:-

    Based on your comment on racism what I understand is that you’re saying anonymous racism (and we have no idea of knowing how widespread it is) is fine but it should not be there in the stadiums? If that is the case I’m fairly certain that at least for the duration of the World Cup there won’t be much racism in the Russian grounds!
    I say:-

    I won’t comment right now, but will respectfully ask ask you to re-read my comments in 8.43am post and ask me again if you really think I was condoning racisim anywhere (I have got to say that I am suprised that you didn’t understand this post as it was one of my better ones, even though I was rushed).

    To me Desi what you have said in your post was far worse and unbalanced than anything Phil has posted. That is my problem with you in this matter, what sort of ‘balance’ were you looking for from Phil? You said in your earlier post that because you have read British blogs on the internet, that were abusive, this was used as your barometer to judge that England is a very racist country and therefore following that argument thread, people in England cannot criticise the serious problems in Russia now. I think that is a silly.

    You said:-

    My problem here is that this seems like a reactionary article where the author is affected more by his disappointment rather than a balanced article which he normally writes. And my response (which I don’t think was over the top) was the same that I’d have if I saw Wenger’s team playing like Big Shams.

    I agree Racism is an issue. But it has been an issue for a long time and I don’t see the point of bringing it up when the bid has been lost. If Untold constantly monitors the football world and writes about racist issues I’ll be happy to support them. When this issue is raised immediately after the bid has been lost it seems to imply that the other candidates were completely clean. The example I gave was to show this is not the case.

    I say:-

    I am certainly not trying to whitewash England’s past and present racial issues and I didn’t get that from reading Phil’s post either. I don’t believe Phil made any such purpotion that all of the bidding countries were perfect, but on a scale of relativities Russia do not appear to of made any sort of assurances to FIFA that this is an important issue that will be addressed. So tell me Desi why you are fairly certain that racism will not be an issue for Russia during the WC?

    Also are you saying that because the WC choices had been made for 2018 & 2022, its no longer appropriate to discuss issues around it, let alone criticise it?…..and no less on the day of the draw itself? I found your comments highly charged, emotive and unneccessary. England is a passionate footballing nation which loves the WC, therefore many as a nation are/where disappointed when a strong case was made and spectacularly failed in the embarassing manor it did. I don’t see the problem with what was written.

    On the FIFA economic issue you raised I will say this:-

    It doesn’t sit comfortably with me that because of a sporting event, South Africa with its past and current problems has been saddled with so much debt. Many African nations have struggled for decades to pay off debts, causing a lot of pain and suffering to it people. To me FIFA in someways has taken advantage of the nation as it goes through it transitional growth stage, when it could of done so much more to help it. In fact I find it disgraceful that FIFA would leave South Africa in the financial state that they have. I don’t think its right to leave a vunerable country economically worse off than they were prior to hosting the WC.

    Based on the criteria FIFA stipulated in a brief to potential bidding nations, from what I understand England put together a very strong case. This is not a ‘condemnation of other countries, but an assessment of the relative merits of the bid proposals put forward. I cannot understand why people are coming out of the woodwork to slate the England bid.

    if it comes to light through an investigation that the reason England didn’t get to host the WC, was really because the English media shed light on corruption, then to me I want reformation because I as a taxpayer don’t want to keep propping up the current FIFA palateble regime. However if this is the case I would also feel a lot better that ultimately the British media stood their ground and were not bullied by FIFA.

    To sum up some of the problems I have with what went down yesterday is this – The World Cup to me has always symbolised respect and an appreciation of different cultures coming together in sporting unity. Yesterday shows that the only important thing that matters to FIFA is the lining of their pockets. Something has to change.

  88. OFF Topic I know BUT,

    Anyone read the SUN ? see the headline Manure to be handed 100 mill war chest after showing the youngsters are no good at Upton Park and Giggs and Scoles retiring.

    Are they trying to sink the ship altogether ? Thank god we have AW.

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