Picture by Warren Rohner via Yahoo Flickr.

If someone would have walked up to me yesterday and asked me “what is Qatar?”, I would have probably said is that the guy from Total Recall that was growing out of the other guys stomach?  Or is that a planet in Star Wars or Star Trek?  A moon orbitting Jupiter?  I tweeted a couple of those jokes earlier, just so you know or in case you already saw.  But seriously, Russia for 2018 I get, but what did this little country in the Middle East do to earn this honor, or more importantly, what did the U. S. do to not earn this honor? 

I must first say that I am not a soccer guy.  I am actually aggressively disinterested in the sport.  However, I was for the World Cup in the U.S. and even more so for it to end up in my great city of Philadelphia.  As I stated in my earlier article, I do have a respect and a bond with the soccer hooligan.  I get that.  I just really don’t enjoy watching or playing the sport.  I did see what having an event of that magnitude would do for the nation and for my city.  So I thought maybe it was something about Qatar.  I did a little research.  According to Wikipedia, the country has a population of about 1.5 million — just about the same as Philadelphia.  Not totally trusting Wikipedia, I dug a little deeper.  According to the CIA website, the population is closer to 850,000.  Interesting.  The national television network of the country is Al-Jazeera, the network of choice for Osama bin Ladin and  al-Qaeda.  Wonderful.  Finally through my perusing I found this gem on the CIA website:

Qatar is a destination country for men and women from South and Southeast Asia who migrate willingly, but are subsequently trafficked into involuntary servitude as domestic workers and laborers, and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation; the most common offense was forcing workers to accept worse contract terms than those under which they were recruited; other conditions include bonded labor, withholding of pay, restrictions on movement, arbitrary detention, and physical, mental, and sexual abuse.

Okay … so I guess it’s not about Qatar.  I honestly think the reasoning is to throw a “bone” to the Middle East, having the first World Cup in that region ever.  Why not do it in the country with the second highest GDP per capita in the world?

That brings me to my second point.  FIFA doesn’t need the United States.  Don’t get me wrong, if the U.S. magically fell into FIFA’s lap and embraced soccer as a national sport, they certainly wouldn’t reject us.  However, they pretty much have the rest of the world in the palms of their hands.  Meanwhile, the U.S. has four other sports that they have embraced as billion dollar industries.  The odd thing about soccer is that in the U.S., soccer is seen almost as an elitist sport.  When you think of soccer, you think of prep school and sweater vests — or middle to upper class white people.  In the rest of the world, fútbol is the game of the people.  All you need is a ball,a goal of some sort and a couple of friends, and you have a game.  Basketball is that game for America, as there is a hoop on every block.  That’s why the NBA continues to be popular, even as the product gets worse and worse.  Anyway, I digress.  FIFA will make billions in Russia and Qatar and won’t have any regrets in regards to the good ol’ U.S.A.  And we’ll be watching, too.  Well not me.  I’ll stick to my football.  At least until they go on strike.  Then maybe I’ll go over and watch the other corrupt and selfish football organization.  NCAA football.

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