The big news in world soccer right now is that FIFA is expected to hold the Qatar 2022 World Cup in the winter, during November and December. With a general public that is already fuming over the questionable awarding of the soccer tournament to the small Middle Eastern nation, this has simply added fuel to the fire. Aren’t World Cups supposed to be held in summer? Won’t this conflict with other major sports, including the NFL, NBA, and other European soccer leagues? And let’s continue to ask the age-old question: why didn’t America get the bid? Here’s why everyone should calm down and realize that having the World Cup in winter is totally fine:
The Temperature: Instead of players sweating it out in 120-degree temperatures, the games will be played around a moderate 75-degrees. This will make for an improved display on the field and a better experience for fans. The risk of danger to players would be immense in a Middle Eastern summer, so playing in winter is practically a necessity.
Conflicts with Soccer Leagues: First off, this will be great for America’s MLS. The season will go ahead as scheduled, perhaps shifted slightly earlier, but no longer will our best players be missing for 6 weeks in the middle of the season. This might be a bit of a challenge for other leagues, but they will figure it out. Play will almost certainly have to be suspended in the top European divisions as teams like Arsenal, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich simply wouldn’t be able to field a squad without all their international players. Perhaps the season will start a few weeks earlier and end a few weeks later. It would be fine. Many players would get a winter break, and perhaps the play at the World Cup would actually improve as most players would be in mid-season form, as opposed to their typically fatigued state following a full domestic season.
Conflicts with NFL, NBA, and other American Sports: This one is a bit of a joke to me. While in theory Americans wouldn’t want to try and slot soccer matches during the annual NFL playoff race, we need to realize it’s not going to be a problem. Why? Because Qatar is on the opposite side of the world! Their time zone is 8 hours ahead of the American east coast. So that 1PM NFL kickoff time won’t really matter because it’ll be 9PM in Qatar and the soccer games would be winding down anyways. They might conflict with an NFL game during its first half. The same would unfold for college football too on Saturdays. By 3, the World Cup games will have ended and we could watch our football uninterrupted. This isn’t a big deal. To me it actually sounds like a tasty fall weekend experience: wake up and watch soccer in the morning and then football in the afternoon. Another reason this doesn’t matter: football is only on the weekends! So the entire week is free anyways. As for conflicting with the NBA, who watches professional basketball before Christmas anyways? The sport doesn’t even get interesting until late spring and the playoffs. Oh, and one final point: do you really think anyone outside the USA cares about our sports?
In conclusion, I actually commend FIFA for integrating the entire planet into the World Cup. While it would have been great to have another American World Cup, let’s embrace the fact that this sport is a global one and should include far reaching locations. Critics complained about Brazil and South Africa all the way up to the tournament and guess what? Both nations put on a fabulous display and everything went fine. So what if there was a questionable bidding process that took place in deciding where to hold this tournament? You think that shady practices don’t occur in American business and just about every other aspect of the world? Wake up, get a grip, and accept that holding a World Cup in winter isn’t the end of the world.