Today, FIFA, the governing body for world soccer, awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia, and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
England had been one of the favorites for 2018. Since 2010’s was held in South Africa and 2014’s will be held in the South American nation of Brazil, it was almost certain to go to somewhere in Europe. And that would have made 2022 sure to go to somewhere other than Europe, South America or Africa. That gave the U.S. and Australia a chance, seeing as how, like England (Great Britain, actually), they have most of the stadiums they need already in place, and strong economies.
Aside from the time difference (an 8 PM start time in Sydney would be a 10 AM in New York if I'm reading things right), I would've been just fine with Australia hosting it. They did a great job with the 2000 Olympics, and with the facilities they already have they might not have had to build a single new stadium. It would have been economical, they've got a good transport system despite being a far-flung country (2,500 miles from Sydney to Perth), and with Australia being mostly British by descent anyway, the passionate home fan base is there. It would have been a fine choice, and I would've only been slightly disappointed at not getting it.
That said, I'm really glad it'll be in Brazil next time, only 2 time zones ahead of U.S. Eastern. South Africa did a good job hosting this summer, but it was a bad choice for me, time-wise. A lot further east, Australia would've been an even bigger reminder of why I'm glad it only happens once every 4 years, but they still would have been a far better host than the Russkies and the Sheiks.
Russia? Where Vladimir Putin – a dead ringer for horrible English referee Mike Dean – is first among equals among mobsters? And Eastern Europe is notorious for racism. And for lousy stadiums: Communism may have inspired some great literature and film, but their architecture stinks, especially their athletic facilities.
And Qatar? Home to 1.7 million people (fewer than the city of Houston, or England’s Greater Manchester metropolitan area) and al-Jazeera? How many stadiums to they have built already, one? And it's a tiny country, where are they gonna put said grounds? No booze, and women stay covered up? (In other words, Brazilian women will probably have to stay home, and a lot of other international babes will be rendered useless as well.)
Brazil 2014 will be The Last World Cup. Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 may be called "World Cups," but FIFA have succeeded in making it a bigger joke than the Olympics. (Come to think of it, Brazil 2016 may be the last one of those worth watching, too.)
I'm disappointed with the U.S. not getting 2022, but I would have been fine with it if '18 and '22 had gone to countries not stuck in the 20th Century (Russia's gangarchy) or the 16th Century (Qatar being the home of al-Jazeera, and they're considered liberal by OPEC standards).
Who’s to blame? Charges that FIFA can be bribed have happened before: A lot of people thought South Africa was going to get it for 2006, but it went to Germany instead. A nation with more money, and of course it’s the homeland of FIFA President Sepp Blatter. The 2010 Cup was a consolation prize for South Africa, and they did a pretty good job considering they’re poor by comparison (although richer than most other African nations).
England (and thus America) getting stiffed might also have something to do with that Carling Cup Quarterfinal yesterday, a “derby” between the 2 teams of Birmingham, Birmingham City and Aston Villa, won by City 2-1, and at the end the City fans (a.k.a. “Brummies” or “Bluenoses”) stormed the field. Sorry, forgot to speak English there: They invaded the pitch. And tore out seats.
The Zulu Army – so named because they were the first English hooligan firm to be racially integrated, and also because their original members loved the Michael Caine movie Zulu – lives. In the immortal words of Bowling for Soup, they’re still preoccupied with 1985.
So, as an Arsenal fan and an American, I can only say... Thanks a lot, you stupid Brummies! If you hadn't torn up St. Andrews, which I thought you considered to be sacred ground, maybe England, and thus the U.S., would have had a fairer chance! Inbred cunts.
Let the record show that one of America’s major steel cities, Birmingham, Alabama, was named for the English steelmaking city of the same name, except we pronounce it BIR-ming-ham, not BIRM-ing-um. As an industrial center, Birmingham, England became a producer of hard rock: Traffic with Steve Winwood, Ozzy Osbourne’s original band Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest, whose breakthrough album (in 1980) was titled Britsh Steel and featured the immortal song “Breaking the Law.” (I hated Priest as a kid. And Ozzy. And AC/DC, too. What can I say, I grew up. And the music that’s come out since has been considerably lesser.)
The most famous person from Brum, aside from politicians like Neville Chamberlain and England’s answer to George Wallace, the contemptible Enoch "Rivers of Blood" Powell, is probably Ozzy. But he’s a Villa fan. Hates the Bluenoses. Maybe he’s not as crazy as we thought.