In a tough-yet-fair decision by an organization known for them, FIFA has decided to strip Qatar of hosting privileges for the 2021 Confederations Cup. In explaining the group’s reasoning, FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke revealed something no one had previously considered: Qatari summers are way too hot for playing soccer.
On one hand, this quite a blow for Qatar. The Middle Eastern nation has been trying to increase its profile by bidding for hosting rights for a number of international sporting competitions. It just recently put on the Men’s World Handball Championship, and is the scheduled home for the 2019 track and field championships and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Indeed, Qatar’s Confederations Cup was a customary bonus for winning the World Cup rights. The Confed Cup isn’t all that prestigious of an event and is more of an opportunity to give a dry run for the following summer’s main event. Even so, the glorified friendlies that make up the Confed Cup are played by many of the world’s premier athletes, so FIFA has an interest in protecting them. Qatar made big promises about inventing newfangled air conditioning technology that would allow these two outdoor tournaments to be played in safe conditions, and decided it was worth seeing if they could deliver for the sake of spreading the game outside of the Western world.
However, FIFA soon realized that those promises weren’t likely to be kept and decided to take action now, giving them plenty of time to find a suitable replacement host. In his announcement, Valcke claimed the 2021 Confederations Cup would be held somewhere in Asia, though a specific country has yet to be selected. Looking back, it’s a little silly to have granted hosting rights to a desert nation when so many better options were available. At least they got it right eventually.
Oh, and about that World Cup? That’s a completely different situation and has been taken care of already. No need to worry.