With the 2018 FIFA World Cup coming to a close this weekend–third place on Saturday and the final on Sunday–people are already starting to look to the next World Cup in Qatar.
You know, that
soccer-rich culture crazy hot Middle Eastern country that surely has at least one soccer ball within its borders.
While I am not a fan of people immediately dismissing the moment for the future, there was news that broke today that was eye-opening. FIFA President Gianni Infantino (Swiss) confirmed that said World Cup in Qatar four years from now will be November 21-December 18. And in announcing the unorthodox schedule for a tournament meant to be played in June and July, Mr. Infantino added this remark.
“Leagues around the world have been informed already, and of course they will have to adapt.”
“…of course they will have to adapt” is quite the statement to make regarding a host country whose bid process was a bit shady, to say the least. The perception looked like a cash grab by FIFA and Qatar with accusations of corruption in the voting process.
Having traveled to Qatar years back, it’s a nice country and I’m glad I stayed the night, having taken in its burgeoning skyline. It’s sort of a mini Dubai–the new Dubai–to a restrained extent. But when other soccer-rich countries and cultures lost the bid for 2022, that seemed a bit odd.
And now the FIFA president has the gall to speak down to the world’s top soccer leagues–steeped in storied history and tradition, as well as world-class talent–to force them to adapt?
FIFA should have adapted to the traditional needs of the World Cup and its participating coaches and players in awarding the tournament for 2022. Particularly given the historical fallout via corruption charges waged against former FIFA President Sepp Blatter (Swiss) and Co. in 2015 and FIFA officials concerning the Qatar bid, FIFA has yet to earn back the benefit of the doubt in cases like the 2022 bid.
FYI – The road of redemption for FIFA will be long and weighed down in a myriad of heated debates. And it doesn’t help that this road for FIFA is being built to travel through Qatar in November and December.
P.S. Liquor is heavily restricted in Qatar. Well, at least soccer fans aren’t famously known for drinking an alcoholic beverage or two, in a stadium or a pub, when watching the beautiful game…
P.P.S. One unresolved issue still under review is whether the 2022 FIFA World Cup will include 48 teams. No, no and no. It may be time for a competitive marketplace of alternative governing bodies to emerge to challenge FIFA and its endless train of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ideas as conducted by the Swiss. Perhaps it’s fitting this type of news broke on Friday the 13th.
In the era when athletes and their BFF sports commentators promote every single shot, assist and human movement as the greatest feats the sport and world have ever seen, it seems
fitting essential to travel back in time to the ’90s for a reality check.
The year was 1999, the sponsor was this small upstart called Nike, the advertising agency was Wieden+Kennedy and the player was Michael Jordan. Yes, arguably the greatest basketball player ever.
For a star athlete to look at basketball, sports and life that way would be quite the leap these days.
Happy Throwback Thursday.
From Lake Erie to the Lakers of Los Angeles.
With LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time–now to the LA Lakers for a small pile of gold coins worth $153.3 million over four years–that means a few things:
Cleveland fans are bummed yet again, LA Lakers fans are ecstatic and Keenan Thompson of SNL will keep making lots of ‘Weekend Update’ appearances as LaVar Ball with Lonzo Ball set to be a teammate of Mr. James.
Are you sure you made the right decision, LeBron? Have fun listening to the obnoxiously real and less funny LaVar Ball (not the hilarious Keenan Thompson featured below)…
Have a Better Week Than Last Week.
This is a peek into at what peak-Argentina can look like in the 2018 FIFA World Cup with its superstar Lionel Messi running on all cylinders.
(Click Play–“Watch this video on YouTube” because of FIFA TV stuff–return to Jimmy’s Daily Planet)
Lionel Messi’s Argentina pulled off a necessary 2-1 win against Nigeria today to advance out of Group D with top-finisher Croatia. While more impressive than its first two games, Argentina has a steep mountain to climb when they play tournament favorite France in the round of 16.
Will this same intensity continue for Messi and his teammates? Will France overwhelm an Argentinian squad that looks like it’s barely hanging on?
One thing’s for certain: France vs. Argentina will be a blockbuster match with stars everywhere.