Thursday, December 2, 2010

World Cup in Qatar

The U.S. was shut out again. Not even the combined star power of Landon Donovan, Bill Clinton, and Nelso...err Morgan Freeman was enough to earn the U.S. it's second World Cup in 2022.

I'm a little bitter about it and the wound is fresh, but I'm not going to focus on some of the more petty issues of hosting the World Cup in Qatar, like where to get a beer or the absurdity of air-conditioned OUTDOOR! stadiums. And these same stadiums will be fully dismantle-able for shipment to less advantaged countries. Clearly FIFA is not concerned about the carbon footprint of the World Cup.

Instead, I'm considering if Qatar will be the Qatar of 2010 in 2022. It is an economy perpetrated on oil wealth and a country that seems to burn through money faster then the petrol they sell. I wonder if Qatar will still be a land of opportunity in 2022, or if diminished oil reserves, increased utilization of alternative energy, and potential inability for the economy to move beyond one natural resource will relegate the country back to LDC status. I hope for the sake of Qataris that is not the case, but twelve years in a long time. Where was Qatar twelve years ago?

I suppose FIFA feels they always have the U.S. on standby. We could host the World Cup with a few weeks notice and the security blanket (not unlike a security umbrella) is reassuring, though not reason enough to award us the games outright. For now, I think FIFA took a big gamble selecting Qatar, and I think it's a far bigger gamble then South Africa was.


Colin said...

I wouldn't really worry about Qatar regressing to LDC status. The country has had a per capita GDP of at least $23K since 1980 and is currently anywhere from $60-100K depending on how one measures. In comparison, South Korea is under $20K. The country has a long way to go before it hits the poor house.

As for the bid decision, I just find it rather disturbing that any Arab country is allowed to host a world cup as long as they refuse to play against Israel, which is a member of UEFA instead of the AFC due to political considerations.

Nick said...

I think you are too optimistic about oil displacement but I wish you were right. It wasn't said, but I wonder whether the pure difficulty of getting into the US through our customs and TSA stuff played a role in the decision not to host it here. Anyways, Qatar sucks. GO USA.