The meeting between President Trump was not the only meeting with a world leader Vladimir Putin had this week. After presiding over the FIFA World Cup in Russia, which I think was a lot more successful than some had feared beforehand, President Putin met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to hand over the mantle of World Cup host in the presence of FIFA chief Gianni Infantino. Not only has the World Cup in Russia not succumbed to many of the problems people feared, but their own team also exceeded expectations and reached the quarter-finals.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has sadly raised nearly as many concerns as the finals in Russia, and some of these are closer to football. Organisation-wise, we are going from a country which has one of the largest land-masses on the globe, down to one whose population at 2.3 million is basically just over twice the size of Birmingham and significantly smaller than London. The Emir said in an interview that although Qatar is small they, like many of the Gulf States, are really getting to enjoy football, and he is sure that any difficulties in infrastructure will be overcome.
One of the main infrastructure problems is that Qatar has to build between eight and twelve football stadia which can seat a minimum of around 40,000 spectators. With four years to go, some of the stadia are at various stages of construction, and some are still to be started. Together they’ve had some criticisms levelled that the conditions some of the foreign constructions workers are living and working in are less than ideal.
I think once again the world of International Football will be holding its breath on a World Cup. They will perhaps look for a far safer option for 2026, and one of the suggestions is England. Now I wonder if any member of the Royal Family fancies a parachute drop into Wembley with the football for the opening game?