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Asian Cup aftermath 2: A Qatari failure

Like most football fans, shock and disbelief were the emotions which ran through my mind when I heard that Qatar had won the bid for the 2022 World Cup. I almost fell out of my chair. Not only has the tiny country only a faction of the population of just one major world city such as London or Tokyo, but it has never even qualified for the World Cup in nine attempts since their first effort in 1974.

Their sucessful bid means China, who expressed an interest in hosting the World Cup in the run-up to the 2018 and 2022 bidding process in December, will have to wait until at least 2030 to do so – FIFA rules forbid the cup being hosted by the countries from the same confederation twice in a row.

Endless arguments against giving the World Cup to Qatar have been written elsewhere. But their hosting of the Asian Cup, which finished just the other week, brought up a host of new ones. Among them was a shocking ticket fiasco during the Asian Cup final saw thousands of fans with genuine tickets locked out of the game due to some obscure “security” precautions.

One wonders how a micro state in the desert with a tiny population and no football heritage at all, can have any claim to host the world’s biggest sporting event.

Frankly, it’s beyond belief that the Qatari delegation didn’t bribe anybody to win the World Cup 2022 vote.

A leading international commentator on Chinese football frequently quoted by the world's top media. Offers piercing and resolutely honest insights into the bustling crossroads where football, society, economics and politics meet in contemporary China. Based in Shanghai since 2005, observer of the Chinese game since 2000.

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