Qatar’s World Cup dreams are the stuff of nightmares

Proposed Qatar stadium
Proposed Qatar stadium
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Surely it came as a great shock to no-one.

The Sunday Times story on the possible corruption involved in Qatar winning the right to host the World Cup in 2022 was just another element in one of sports’ most bizarre sagas.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is coming under renewed pressure to re-run the vote for the tournament after a whistle-blower leaked documents said to reveal $5 million of secret payments to help Qatar win its bid.

Never mind players running around in 45-degree heat, the human rights violations last year and the cultural issues to overcome.

Never mind the lack of suitable stadiums and infrastructure, Qatar has the money to put both of those things right.

But, as sure as Carl Froch’s right hand on Saturday night, there were always going to be more problems than oil and cash could put right.

What are they going to do, air-condition the whole country?

A great sporting nation like Australia with the stadiums, desire and support of its citizens would put on a terriffic World Cup.

But no, that’s too easy, let’s take it to a country that has some of the most inhospitable weather on earth and currently only one stadium that holds more than 22,000 fans.

A country where, according to Human Rights Watch in 2013, a significant minority of migrant workers were treated as virtual slaves.

Nowhere is perfectand if countries had to be blemish-free to hold major games there would never be any.

And there is a lot of merit in FIFA’s push to spread the game and the World Cup into areas where it has not previously been.

The ‘old’ footballing countries and the affluent West should have no monopoly on what is still the people’s game.

But heavy-handed social engineering of the world’s biggestsporting events is not the way to go.

Whether or not the corruption allegations made against FIFA and Qatari officials are upheld, we have gone a long way down a very bumpy road.

There’s still time to turn round and take the tournament somewhere where logic and common sense say it can be a success.

That’s not anti-Qatar, it’s pro-World Cup.