Saturday, 4 December 2010
It is best to hold off commenting on these things until the dust has settled a little. It is in fact still swirling, but this is what I can see peering through it.
1) Russia - Perfectly reasonable case for Russia in theory. Putin's Russia and Putin's influence are not so savoury. But having Russia hold the tournament is not a disgrace in itself. No reason for complaint there except probably the usual endemic corruption. Let the senators outside wave their clean hands.
2) Qatar 2022 is about money for FIFA and prestige for Qatar. There is no other reason, except for spreading the game to the Middle East. Qatar is a good friend of Iran. It will be interesting to see the preparations and conduct of the whole shebang, if I'm still here.
3) Deserving - It depends whether the awarding of the tournament is reward or incentive. It might be both. It is just that incentive coming from this source is like being encouraged to maidenly virtue by a pimp. But hey! New markets!
4) FIFA - The stench of corruption has hung about it for a very long time. What else to expect from a small band of powerful rich people? Nothing new there, simply more overt. You could bottle that smell and use it as aftershave in a swamp.
5) Blatter - A repulsive toad of a man. Just my opinion, man.
6) The promise of votes for England - Lying is lying, and not, I imagine, without a certain glee. See, we are more powerful than you! You come crawling to us. We like that. Bring on your kingy-thingys! Let them eat dirt! Lessons: 1. A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on; 2) Never rely on the word of a gentleman.
7) Media - Well, of course The Sunday Times and Panorama had something to do with the decision - or rather with the manner of it. Newspapers and the BBC are not obliged to be patriotic. They want the biggest news at the time most convenient for them and blow everything else. And boy, was it blown! The perfect FIFA excuse! Good copy the next day. Perhaps they can do a little following up now. Probably won't. That would be old news.
8) Cameron / Beckham / Prince William et al - Those who loathe them to start with will insist it was their fault, that they were not up to it, etc. But they hate them anyway, so we can ignore that. They would not have wanted them to succeed. For such it's back to square one, which is always the comfiest place to be. I hold no brief for either Cameron or the prince, hailing, as I do, from another part of the wood, but they did what they could.
9) The FA - Yes, bunch of old suits, but to say they should have been wilier (in other words more corrupt) is a little sickening. I rather prefer them as a bunch of old suits as played by, say, Peter Cook. The three M's: Motivation, motivation, and motivation.
10) Does it matter much? - No. But the corruption and the stench are somewhat plainer and in-yer-face, so the day when FIFA finally drowns in its own swill draws a little closer. As Martin Bell wrote: Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!