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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/21/14

2014 FIFA World Cup: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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I've never seen such artful and skillful diving in a FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. Hell, diving is the new fad in world cup soccer. And everybody is doing it. Histrionics, grimacing at the slightest touch, and a lack luster performance by the world's soccer powerhouse nations has made Brazil 2014 World Cup a kind of bummer -- so far. A real let down. At least in the opening rounds of the tournament.

Germany, England and Spain have all put in less than stellar performances. England and Spain are now out in the first round -- for the first time since the FIFA World Cup started. Thrown out by teams that hitherto have been called "B" teams. The "A" teams are performing just like FIFA full of surprises, erratic and amateurish.

Then there are the showboating referees and their own attempts to not only control the game -- that's their jobs -- but also quite literally blow their whistles for each and every little infraction and buying into the field drama of expert divers of the game. I'm no qualified referee but there were some calls that drew boos from the crowds because of their very suspicious nature that really defied any sane reasoning.

Speaking about FIFA there are calls from many quarters for disbanding the organization. The argument goes that the modern World Cup is now a competition that is, essentially, forged in corruption, which is why it goes to countries that are essentially corrupt. Countries that will over-ride their tax system, their money-laundering laws, countries where a free press is a figment. Of course, there is merit in the torrents of criticism leveled against FIFA and the way that it continues to do business.

The decision by FIFA to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar is one of those lunatic decisions. It would be a monumental joke if this were not serious business. Fans and players alike are complaining about the heat and humidity in Brazil during this present World Cup. So imagine, if you could playing, in temperatures that can reach 125 degrees in the shade.

Maybe it's the blatant duplicity of FIFA's executive committee members that has stoked the ire of the organization's critics. So now, if you read between the lines, the inescapable conclusions is that FIFA is populated by chisellers, liars and, quite possibly, crooks.

The first step before the calls to disband FIFA reaches a crescendo is to get rid of its technical committee. That's the committee that is supposed to study the conditions of bidding nations and make recommendations as to the best locations to hold the fabled "beautiful game" every four years.

Amid lavish pomp and ceremonies FIFA's technical committee is feted, wined and dined by countries eager to host a World Cup tournament. So they whizz around the world, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, showing up at lavish receptions and meetings. The end result? We got Qatar in 2022 one of the most problematic technical bids in world cup history.

A very poor infrastructure, fabulous expense, potentially fatal heat, crazy overcrowding and other challenges make the choice of Qatar a really bad one. There are no good reasons or rational explanations for the decision. Its just plain stupid.

Qatar can air-condition its stadiums as much as it likes. Money will be no problem - the country is flush with oil money. And it can chill them like a cool box for a summer picnic by the sea. All of that will not matter. For the moment spectators step outside that artificial atmosphere, the sun will be beating down on them at an average daily temperature of 106 degrees. There is so much that is wrong about Qatari success it is hard to know where to start.

The illogic and idiocy of FIFA and its quixotic decision is evident by the fact that Australia, the country that hosted perhaps the greatest Olympics ever, in Sydney in 2000; a country that is defined by its love for sport and its prowess against all odds. This is the country that was passed over by FIFA so that the World Cup 2022 can be played in a country with a population of 1.7million that has never qualified for the tournament - ever. Qatar played FIFA's duplicitous game very, very well; that horrible, schmoozing, lobbying, crawling, venal game.

So for all of the above many, many feel that FIFA should be disbanded and as a first step its Technical Committee as presently constituted must go.

But back to the present dive, er, World Cup 2014 Soccer tournament in Brazil. FIFA's referees obviously need a refresher course. Few World Cups has seen so many mistakes, bad calls, and cockamamie decisions as Brazil 2014. Maybe it's the heat or the beautiful senoritas. I don't know. Or maybe it's the beers.

For now the diving will go on. That and the sign of the cross and pointing to the sky when a player scores a goal.

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

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