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The World Cup is Coming to the Middle East!

The greatest sporting event on earth (sorry Olympics) is headed to Qatar in 2022. In a stunning decision, FIFA (soccer’s governing body) awarded the World Cup to the tiny Middle Eastern nation over bids from the U.S., Australia, South Korea and Japan. This result is unusual for several reasons. First, Qatar was a rank outsider throughout the whole bidding process. Second, FIFA recently published a technical evaluation of Qatar’s bid that deemed a tournament there a risky proposition, given the heat and other factors. And third, just consider the nature of Qatar itself – it’s smaller than Connecticut, its population is half that of Chicago and its June-July average temperatures are scorching (between 106-115 degrees). Qatar will have to build 9 out of the 12 stadia needed for the competition in just twelve years too. Personally, I think FIFA made the wrong decision. While it’s exciting to see the World Cup go to a new part of the world for the first time, I think the heat is just too oppressive of a factor. I’ve played soccer in 90 degree heat and it’s just a torturous experience. All of your energy is sapped making it impossible to play the game at full intensity. I think this will translate into a poor quality of games in 2022. Players will be simply too tired to play fast-paced games involving a lot of goals. Although Qatar bid officials have promised to build climate controlled stadia with circulating air conditioning mechanisms built-in (not domes, however) I think the technology is untested and thus unproven. Are all of these complaints coming from an American feeling jilted that his own country didn’t win the right to host the World Cup? Perhaps a smidge. But I still think FIFA should’ve awarded the games to more of a slam-dunk producing bid like the U.S’s or Australia’s.

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