FIFA World Cup: Third-Place Play-Off #FIFAcom #WorldCup

Tomorrow, England face Belgium in “the game that no one wants to play in”: the third-place play-off of the FIFA World Cup. Of course, nobody would choose to lose in a semi-final and then be forced to degrade themselves in a match which is, in effect, a glorified and largely pointless friendly.

However, getting to the semi-finals and then going out is nothing to be ashamed of. And I’m not just saying that because I’m English. It is a phenomenal achievement and ranks you among the elites of the sport. Furthermore, a medal is of course up for grabs. Okay, it may be bronze and not gold, but it is still a medal.

So, to recognise that winning the third-place play-off is indeed an achievement to be proud of, I suggest we change its name of the match to something catchier, something which reflects the respect which it deserves: The Bronze Final.

But to the unfortunate loser of this match? I think a souvenir mug with Sepp Blatter’s face printed on it would be a nice consolation prize.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://hdwarena.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Colorful-FIFA-Logo-1428×1080.jpg

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Football World Cup and Olympics Host Nation Idea

Putin

The 2016 Rio Olympics are a shambles. The stadiums aren’t ready, people are dying. It’s a joke. Sounds eerily familiar, though, doesn’t it? Step forward, Qatar 2022! There have even been rumblings that Qatar could be stripped of the World Cup (although that won’t happen, of course). Now Russia has been banned from the 2016 Olympics for endemic, state-sponsored doping — yet Russia will host the next football world cup in 2018!

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The ancient Panathenaic Stadium in Greece.

It’s clear that the two biggest sporting events in the world, the Olympics and the Football World Cup, have become a joke. Given the cultural, political, and economic importance of these two events, things need to be fundamentally addressed. The whole bidding process was always open to corruption. After all, if one side has something (the event) that the other side desperately wants to host, then the risk of corruption is ever-present. But now the bribes and cheating have gone well beyond having lunch and a selfie with Wills and Becks.

So how can we fix the in-built risk of corruption involved in the host nation bidding systems? Here’s a suggestion.

  1. Let any nation put forward a bid, but only those nations that already have adequate infrastructure at the time of placing their bid will be considered. If that means every other World Cup or Olympic Games is held in England, France, or Germany, so be it.
  2. Do away with bidding altogether: the nations that put their name forward (above) are put into a hat; the name pulled out of the hat hosts the tournament. The only proviso: nations cannot go into the hat if they hosted the last games (So no London 2012, London 2016, London 2020, and so on).

Or we could just go back to the original idea of the Modern Olympics: host every single Olympic Games in Greece, in the Panathenaic Stadium. Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics; England, the birthplace of football: you know who should host every World Cup!

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://vipmedia.globalnews.ca/2014/03/putin-sochi-march-8.jpg?w=672&h=448&crop=1

image of the Panathenaic Stadium from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panathenaic_Stadium

Boycott Qatar 2022

venturesonsite-qatar-2022-worldcup

I’ve been calling for this for a while now, but the events of the last few days are making it clear to all: England must boycott the Qatar 2022 FIFA world cup.

The bidding process was a shambles. And even if it was all above board, the concept of hosting a world cup in Qatar is absurd. This nation has no footballing infrastructure or culture, almost 90% of the population is foreign-born workers, and slave labour is being used to build the stadiums: an unprecedented 1200+ people have already died.

Worse still, Qatar’s bid was for a summer world cup. FIFA has now changed this to winter. So let’s forget the chaos that a winter world cup will wreak on domestic football. The point is that FIFA has moved the goalposts. Qatar’s bid was for one thing, yet now they will be delivering something else — all with FIFA sanction. This is unfair. Either host it in the Summer as per the bid, and let the dangerous fiasco unfold, or put the tournament up for a rebid again. A precedent exists: the 1986 world cup in Columbia ended up being moved to Mexico.

England should boycott Qatar 2022 and take part in our own “Friendship Cup” involving any nation that wants to join us — perhaps even a one-off revival of the Home Nations Championship. And if UEFA can be big enough to boycott FIFA, then I suggest a special (summer) edition of the European Championships in 2022. The major European footballing nations all have the ability to put on such a major event as we already have all of the relevant infrastructure.

I would hate to see football split as boxing has been, with several “world champions” strutting around. But I doubt that will ever occur. We need to stand up to FIFA and say “enough is enough!” England, as the nation which gave the world the beautiful game, should take the lead. I look forward to the World Friendship Cup in 2022, even if it means England might be squaring off against San Marino, Gibraltar, and East Timor.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://footyjuice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/venturesonsite-qatar-2022-worldcup.jpg