— Reuters (@Reuters) September 13, 2022
Did You Know the World Cup Is in Two Months? https://t.co/ZQgEfG67vE
— 🇺🇦🐱🖤🕊️ VAXXED THO 🏳️🌈🖤🐱🇺🇦 (@rogue_corq) September 14, 2022
… Do you realize that the World Cup — the biggest sporting event in the world — is only two months away? Do you know where it’s taking place? Do you know who’s broadcasting it? Do you know who the United States plays? Are you sure the United States even made it? (They did.)
For the first time, the Men’s World Cup this year won’t take place in June, when it has been held every four years throughout its history. Instead, in highly disorienting fashion, it will get going the week before Thanksgiving and wrap up on December 18 — the shortest window ever for the tournament. This isn’t just one of the busiest periods on the sports calendar, but the busiest, or at least most hectic, period in Americans’ lives every year. The World Cup selected dates that make it most likely to be ignored by the American public — the very country it’s been trying to fully win over for decades.
The reason for the time shift is kind of about weather, but really about FIFA corruption. FIFA — which experiences massive corruption scandals about as often as it holds World Cups — awarded the 2022 edition to Qatar way back in 2010. The tiny country won the sweepstakes not because it put together a compelling bid or had facilities ready to accommodate massive crowds. According to the Department of Justice (and many others), Qatar triumphed because it bribed FIFA officials. The place certainly didn’t make sense on the merits. It had no stadiums ready for play, and it used exploited migrant labor to construct the ones it had to build. Qatar isn’t exactly a soccer hotbed, either; the country’s teams had never qualified for the World Cup. And it’s also very, very conservative: homosexuality is currently against the law, and has already been controversy about how little soccer fans will be able to drink.
Beyond the moral hazards, there’s the heat. Qatar averages 105 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, and despite an initial claim from organizers that “heat is not and will not be an issue,” it turned out that not all stadiums could be air-conditioned. So in 2014, FIFA moved things to November. That switch caused all sorts of headaches with professional soccer leagues, since the tournament now falls in the middle of their seasons. Hence why this World Cup is so compressed, taking place over three weeks rather than the usual four or five. The world’s premier sporting event is essentially now being squeezed in…
In its first World Cup game this year, the U.S. men’s team squares off against Wales on the Monday before Thanksgiving; the next one after that, against England, will fall on Black Friday. You tell me how much attention you’re going to have for soccer during that time…
An advocacy group says Qatar arrested at least 60 foreign workers who protested going months without pay and deported some of them. The Gulf Arab state is under scrutiny over its labor practices ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha. @malakharb. https://t.co/AhoeNEqQBY
— AP Middle East (@APMiddleEast) August 22, 2022
Almost three-quarters of fans believe FIFA should use 2022 World Cup revenues to compensate workers who suffered in Qatar.
FIFA have released a statement in response to the Amnesty International poll. pic.twitter.com/J18VqFDNGO
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 15, 2022
I’m no more a beer drinker than a sports fan, but from what I’ve read, complicated timing restrictions and a Budweiser-only menu are unlikely to sit well with non-Muslim WC attendees…
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 6, 2022