I’m just trying to see who the winners and losers of Qatar 2022 will be following FIFA’s decision to hold the World Cup in November and December rather than the traditional summer slot:
|Qatar: They're desperate to hold any sport they can, and they're willing to throw as much money as possible to get those sports. Next up - seriously - The Olympics.||Immigrant workers: Bonded slavery and/or death.|
|Sepp Blatter: The fool in charge of FIFA thinks playing football in a desert is a great idea.||Fans: While I'm sure local Qataris will be very welcoming, the severe laws will almost certainly mean a diminished number of fans actually wanting to travel. If Bangladesh or Nepal make it through, then expect loads of fans!|
|Air conditioning companies: We sure are going to need a lot of them.||European Football: You know, the people who provide 75% of the players at the World Cup. The leagues will have to accommodate the World Cup somehow, and that probably means starting pretty soon after the 2021/22 season has finished and ending well into the summer of 2023. The other option is to play through as everyone does for the African Cup of Nations. But how would that go down with a Man City, Chelsea or Arsenal, packed with internationals?|
|Sponsors: I just can't see audiences engaging, and that's bad for sponsors. Matches played in half empty stadiums don't look good either.|
|Cricket, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Tennis, Basketball, NFL. Sports don't exist in isolation. Audiences can only watch one thing at a time. Many sports rely on windows of opportunity. So that means competition from domestic football in the summer, and the World Cup in the winter.|
|Broadcasters: While we all enjoy the fun of trying to work out whether ITV or BBC is showing a particular Quater Final, it's less of a problem in the summer. Broadcasters don't have big expensive drama series or reality shows culminating in series finales in the summer. But these are critical shows in the winter. Especially for...|
|Commercial Broadcasters: The World Cup and European Football Championships are very important for a broadcaster like ITV. Traditionally summer is a poor advertising time. So getting a massive boost from beer brands and the like every couple of years is an important part of earnings. And it doesn't follow that this money "moves" to the winter. Because November and December are also really important times for broadcasters. The run-up to Christmas is annually vital to make hay while the big X-Factors and Downtons are running. Effectively, the commercial broadcasters are losing one of these periods, despite having paid for the rights. (And while you might not shed a tear for ITV, it's worth remembering that it's that advertising that partially keeps big tournament football free on our screens).|
|Viewers: Not everyone likes football. Hard to believe, I know. But as explained above this is going to mess up schedules for TV viewers. Could we actually see matches shunted to BBC2 or ITV4?|
|FIFA: It's become a laughing stock. A corrupt laughing stock. (Remind me when that Sepp Blatter biopic is coming out again?)|
I suspect that there are many more losers, and not very many more winners.
I do think there’s a strong chance that FIFA will fold or become irrelevant. I hate to say this, but we need a breakaway group of nations to form a new competition with a new organisation at the helm.