Today, you can get a beer in Qatar and drink it in a hotel lobby or bar. Forget about grabbing a tallboy and swigging it from a brown paper bag in downtown Doha, Qatar's capital and host of the 2022 World Cup; no booze in public. FIFA has awarded the World Cup Finals to a country of 1.7 million people associated with the super oil and gas rich. For those who play the stocks, buy oil! Expect a gallon of gas to rise around 2020 to pay for the stadiums and infrastructure required to host the World Cup. Portfolio spreaders should breeze to fan manufacturers -- it is 106 degrees on average in the Qatari summer. FIFA must be banking on the American driver still being hooked on gas.
The big loser today is the stock in American soccer. Soccer's expansion and popularity is on-going, no matter what the boring soccer detractors say. Each new generation of American has come to know soccer through playing it or watching their kid playing it. These days, more kids kick the ball than throw it. But there is no doubt that hosting a World Cup would have boosted the professional and youth game like a rocket. FIFA's version of democracy prevailed elevating lobbyists to a new height. The dejected USA delegation has blamed "politics" for FIFA's decision.
Qatar 2022, good and bad, as usual. The nation loves its soccer although they have never qualified for the World Cup Finals. The government has agreed to dismantle the stadiums after the tournament and give them to poor countries. Progressive thinking. It is somewhat of a more liberal Islamic state, women can drive, there is a civil code with Islamic law for domestic and some criminal cases, although this might not apply to terrible refereeing decisions. The market for soccer is massive in the Middle East but how many ordinary Middle Easterners will be flying to the Doha round of world soccer? In previous World Cups, the ad boardings around the field were plastered with Budweiser, expect that to change to Chevron.
Not that it is any consolation but in the pubs of London, the Brits are crying into the warm beer, although not as warm as that pint in Qatar. Despite sending the Prime Minister and Beckham, Russia and the Putin Empire beat out the Brits for 2018. The UK newspaper, The Guardian, ran its latest Wiki-leaks story about "Russia's mafia state" the day before FIFA voted and a BBC report on FIFA's shady dealings earlier this week may have prompted some FIFA voting members to dismiss the Brits as supercilious. Stand by for a new wiki-leaks dossier on FIFA? In soccer terms however, there can be no argument about Russia winning. They have earned it. A country with a dynamic soccer legacy and contribution to the game through innovative tactics and legendary players is deserving. The Russian World Cup is likely to be one of the best.
To be fair to FIFA, for all its chicanery, it has kept with a long term vision of keeping the World Cup a shared geographical experience. Geography teachers should be happy. Qatar will no longer be phonetically confused as something that is stuck in your throat although for many American soccer fans today it sure feels like it.
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