Old Trafford. The Nou Camp. The Allianz Arena. Hampden Park. Anfield. The Al Bayt Stadium.
Does one of these stadiums seem out of place in that line up? It should do. Of course, I’m talking about Qatar’s Al Bayt Stadium - a soulless, corporately created arena where a handful of games will be played at this year’s FIFA World Cup in November and December.
Is this what football has become? Sold out the highest-bidder without a regard to the prestige of the sport? It’s a disgrace.
Football has suffered enough. The globalization of the game may sound alluring, but it’s come at a major cost. The Premier League, the so-called crown jewel of global football, has never been won by an English manager. Most of the league’s top players have probably never heard of Brian Clough or Sir Alf Ramsey. Players’ wages have reached eye-watering levels, and it’s us fans who are responsible for this.
Whilst I can learn to live with the foreign invasion of our domestic league, hosting a World Cup in an area as devoid of football history as Qatar is too much. It’s simply impossible to name anything of note the region has contributed to football yet they’re the ones hosting the upcoming tournament.
FIFA Outdoing Itself
Ten months on from England’s march to the Euros final on home soil, our national team will have to apply their suncream and jet off to a brand-new, characterless stadium as they begin their subsequent (and hopefully successful) World Cup campaign in Qatar. The fact that it’s taking place during our winter is a disgrace, too.
It seems that with each passing tournament FIFA is hellbent on outdoing itself on how crooked it can get. I’m certain there were better, more heartfelt bids from other nations, but they most likely didn’t have the funds FIFA so desperately sought.
England Should Be The Hosts
Being an English game, there is only one country where the tournament should be held. Stadiums like Anfield and Old Trafford are unmatched in their history whilst sites such as Wembley and the new White Hart Lane are a testament to bloody good English engineering.
Add to that a passionate and welcoming home fanbase, and you have the perfect cauldron for an event as international and newsworthy as the World Cup.
Other European Coutries Have A Claim
Other European countries have a great stake, too, with Germany, Spain, Italy, and France each hosting brilliant tournaments in the past and they, unlike Qatar, have a footballing history.
We best brace ourselves and get ready for the most soulless World Cup yet. It won’t be easy, but I’m sure an England win would ease the pain.
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