November 29, 2010

The ludicrous narrative for a Korean World Cup in 2022

The voting for the rights to host upcoming FIFA World Cups in 2018 and 2022 take place on Thursday, December 2nd. Hardly a transparent process, the voting process is rife with secrecy and corruption, leaving no real clues as to whom the World Cups will be awarded.

The 2018 bids are from Russia, England, Spain/Portugal, and Belgium/Netherlands. The 2022 bids are from Qatar, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and the United States. An executive summary of those bids, as evaluated by FIFA, is available here.

What's troubling, somewhat, is to hear the extent to which FIFA president Sepp Blatter is pushing a certain political agenda for these two Cups, which he deems as potential "legacy" tournaments, as outlined in this Wall Street Journal article:
"2018 would open Russia to the rest of the world, banishing the ugliness of the Iron Curtain once and for all. 2022, so the narrative goes, would help unify North and South Korea. Such is the power of soccer that, according to the theory, South Korea would happily share its World Cup with its neighbor to the North. That part's not implausible, but the imagined narrative goes further: North Korea would open up in time for 2022, ridding itself of an authoritarian regime (by that point, Kim Jong Il, the Dear Leader, might have made way for his designated successor, Kim Jong Un) and turning the event into a celebration of soccer-propelled international brotherhood."
Woefully optimistic at best and delusional at worst, could the power of Sepp Blatter's narrative - along with the executive committee members willing to do his bidding - deliver the 2022 Cup to South Korea, co-hosts (with Japan) in 2002? Lest we forget, it was also Blatter's doings that delivered a World Cup to Africa, which although deserved for South Africa progress as a nation, did not deliver in reality what FIFA's rhetoric had promised - as noted previously on this blog here, here, and here.

World Cup power broker and FIFA President Sepp Blatter

All in all, considering recent events in the Korean peninsula, such a pie-in-the-sky scenario for a Korean World Cup in 2022 seems preposterous. But, in truth, no less preposterous than FIFA's back-room-dealing, under-the-desk-note-passing, bribe-inducing, and country-colluding voting process in the first place.

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