When FIFA announced that Qatar – and, more specifically, not the United States – would host the 2022 World Cup, the entitled American media concluded that FIFA must be corrupt.It was the only reasonable explanation for a small, conservative, Middle-Eastern country hosting the tournament rather than the greatest country in the history of the world.
Here’s how that sentiment was voiced on Twitter:
- Andrew Ungvari, sports blogger: If you’re a Jew or a homosexual living in Qatar, today would be the day to come out.
- Neil Best, Newsday sports media columnist: “Dear boss: If you are planning to send me to any of the next three World Cups, please make it 2014 (Rio), not 2018 (Russia) or 2022 (Qatar).
- Bill Simmons, ESPN personality: Any time you can hold a World Cup in a hot Middle East country that’s smaller than Connecticut + has no soccer tradition, you have to do it.
- and: Qatar needs to thank its special consultant for the 2022 WC bid: Cam Newton’s father.
- Jeremy Schapp, ESPN: Ahh, Qatar in midsummer. I hope the reporters covering it aren’t required to wear suits on camera.
- Ross Siler, former Jazz beat writer: On the bright side, Chechen rebels and Al Qaeda think Russia and Qatar are fantastic World Cup choices.
- Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports columnist: With FIFA, the IOC, the BCS and college football and hoops, sports is giving politics a damn good run for its long-held corruption title.
- Craig Calcaterra, Hardball Talk: I know little about soccer, but isn’t complaining about a FIFA decision akin to complaining about the outcome of a pro wrestling match?
- Kurt Helin, Basketball Talk: So the 2022 World Cup is in a country where it is nearly impossible to buy a beer, and the punishment for being drunk is severe? Well done.
- Sports Business Radio: Wondering if Cecil Newton brokered the World Cup to Qatar in 2022 deal…..
Later in the day, when columnists were faced with the challenge of writing their thoughts in more than 140 characters, the analysis was far more balanced, and thoughtful. Or, at least, The Times’ George Vescey was.
- Vescey: “I heard enough natural-gas-and-oil jokes at a soccer gathering in Midtown Manhattan on Thursday. Supply your own. What happens if the world goes green next week? It won’t. Russia and Qatar will build the stadiums and the people will come, and the rising tide of American footie fans will watch in pubs, and travel to those games, and have a great old time as a growing soccer nation in its own right, consumers and participants … Holding the World Cup is not a birthright, not a prize for having a lot of hotels near a lot of stadiums. It’s a big world out there.”
- Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports: “Even though Qatar and Spain-Portugal were cleared by an investigation into possible collusion, there will continue to be many who suspect that some form of underhanded dealings took place. Others will worry about Qatar’s political alliance with Iran and the messages that sends. And there could be a worrying social aspect to the 2022 World Cup, with Qatari women still suffering from routine sexual discrimination.”
- Tunku Varadarajan, The Daily Beast: “I believe that the Qatar World Cup will be a most effective weapon against al Qaeda and the forces of Islamist darkness … And if Israel qualifies, Qatar will not be able to deny it the right to play, for the first time, on Arab soil. Think of that.”
- Don Garber, MLS Commissioner: “I’m disappointed. It’s not just soccer fans who took a little shot in the head today. I think it’s our entire country that could have shown the world how passionate we are about the global game. We’ll take a deep breath and go back to…what we do every day, which is building the game. It just might be a little harder now.”
For their part, the people Qatar responded the old-fashioned way:
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