If ever the football world needed evidence that FIFA is now completely out of control with its self-absorption, greed and dodgy inner workings, their confirmation last week that the Qatar World Cup would go ahead in the December of 2022 is it.
But it is also the opportunity it has been waiting for to finally take action and push for a complete overhaul of football’s governing body. The question is, who’s game to take it?
It is no secret that the stakeholders of Europe’s major leagues aren’t at all happy with the prospect of a winter World Cup given it will wreak havoc with their domestic seasons. The response from FIFA so far has basically been “We don’t care”, which is a remarkable attitude given that voting for the 2022 World Cup was done with the stipulation it would be held in the summer as usual.
Of course, given the palms that had been greased to ensure Qatar emerged as hosts – much to the shock of the rest of the world – there was no way FIFA was ever going to reverse their terrible decision. And so, even when they realized that, just as they had been told, hosting the World Cup in a Qatar summer wasn’t a feasible idea after all, they simply ignored their own terms and conditions and changed the dates. It is a clear case of saving themselves at the expense of everyone else.
FIFA has even rejected calls by the European leagues for compensation given how much the change will impact their huge broadcast rights deals. Again, they simply don’t care.
And so Europe has a decision to make. They can suck it up, fall into line and let FIFA continue to tarnish the world game, or they can take a stand.
This is the time for all of the European leagues to join together, stand firm and boycott the 2022 World Cup. FIFA can play hardball all they want, but a World Cup without any of the European nations taking part would show the governing body up for the shambles that it is.
If sacrificing the credibility of one World Cup means salvaging the credibility of the game as a whole, that’s a move worth making.