The world sits with baited breath waiting for the most expensive Winter Olympics to commence in just a few days. In true Olympic spirit, the world’s countries have put aside war, famine and genocide to come together and celebrate expression threw sport. Not all is well in Sochi though, and many world officials stand on notice. While no event will ever be completely void of their terrorism threats, the question still begs to be asked. Why locate a high profile event only 250 miles away from one of the most active terrorism zones in the world? To be fair the Olympic Committee has done an excellent job in previous years finding friendlier venues then their FIFA counterparts. Additionally, the biggest attack on the modern Olympics occurred here on US soil. But still why do Organizers tempt fate?
Let’s take a step back and look at another bone headed decision made by a different organization that is risky in its own way. The NFL has broke its tradition of hosting Super Bowls in either warm or domb climates this February and instead will host its annual event in New York City. New York City is an amazing place, but not in February. This decision leads me to believe that the Super Bowl organizers have never been to the Big Apple during the winter. It’s cold and miserable. While I certainly don’t want anyone’s Super Bowl experience to be ruined, it is going to take an epic collapse to prevent such a stupid decision from ever being made again. And no I am not even talking about the quality of the game, which will be almost ruined if a blizzard hits. The concern should be is if a blizzard hits a day or 2 before the game and the airports shut down, forcing 100s of people to miss a game they’ve spent 1000s of dollars on. Or that public transport is shut down because of a storm during the game, stranding 1000s of people in New Jersey. Apparently no one thought of that though. The only more preposterous organizational decision is Budlights’s current marketing ploy. NO ONE WANTS TO SPEND FEBRUARY IN NEW YORK ON A CRUISE SHIP.
The NFL is made to look like geniuses by the mind boggling decision by the NHL to play an outdoor hockey game in LA. While the event lacks the transportation concerns that the Super Bowl faces, the NHL does seem to have overlooked one big crucial factor. People move to LA because it is warm and water at those temperatures no longer bothers itself to remain in its solid form. I was at the Pittsburg Winter Classic when it was 50 and rainy and they barely got that one off. The delay cost observers (ourselves included) 100s of additional dollars on expensive hotel rooms. That wasn’t a good enough lesson for the NHL though and hey maybe next year we can get one in Phoenix or Miami.
Both of the previous examples pale in comparison to the recent decisions made by FIFA and its subsidiaries. The last World Cup was hosted in South Africa in order to help promote the game across the planet. While South Africa is a beautiful country and is home to many outstanding people, FIFA definitely took a risk. South Africa holds the title to the highest murder rate per capita then any Westernized nation. Luckily for FIFA, the native population saw the World Cup as a godsend and tried to show the world how amazing their country was. FIFA will not have the same luxury this year. Many residents of the greatest soccer country in the world have realized the toll that these large events put on its people. Local soccer matches, as well as last years Confederation Cup, have been protested against across Brazil. Many of these protests have unfortunately turned violent. I am willing to forgive FIFA though, since when the World Cup was announced in Brazil many celebrated the fact. Their next decision was just dumb though.
While all the events in this article so far will take place in the next six months, the event that confuses me the most will take place in 2022. FIFA has decided to host a World Cup in the Middle East, which I really don’t have an issue with. There are 2 things though that leave me vigorously shaking my head. The selection of Qatar as a location for the World’s most prestigious football tournament was due to one factor. It wasn’t growing the game. If that was the case Iran or Saudi Arabia, the countries with better footballing traditions, would’ve been selected. In fact, Qatar’s footballing traditions are almost completely non existent. No, this was done because of the money that Qatar threw around. And they threw around a lot. They even convinced the world they would be able to construct these massive stadiums that could be air conditioned to a point that would make the 120 degree external temperature tolerable for the players. Well they have now failed, prompting FIFA into trying to force the World’s soccer organizations into changing their schedules so the traditional summer tournament can be hosted during the winter. Combine that with the reports of slave labor used to build all the new stadiums and hotels, and you have a recipe for disaster.
I appreciate that each of these organizations, or at least some people in them, are trying to broaden the horizons of the game. However, I don’t buy it. The whole thing reeks. It seems that money now outweighs sense.
No matter where you put an event there are going to be issues. No large scale event is ever out of the scope of terrorist who wish to make their mark. All areas of the world are plagued by their own weather related issues. And yes even in the wealthiest of nations, protests can turn violent. However, minimizing the risks of an event should be a priority for organizers. Not only do they put athletes in a disposition or worse in danger, they also sacrifice the security of the people attending. While we can’t predict another Munich, putting a target event 250 miles from a hot zone, in a country thats plagued by terrorism, might not have been a good idea. I really do hope all of these events go off without a hitch, and this article isn’t meant to scare people. This is just a petition to the organizers to these events saying please, look past the end of your nose and see the scope of everything.
For Hambino’s prediction on the World Cup Check Out
And have the US hopes been crushed in December? Maybe not