USA 2022? Not Likely

It occurs to me from time to time that I very seldom offer up a link to DUNORD.

The reason is fairly simple: I just assume that everyone has already been over there. (Plus, Brucio apparently has Nike in his pocket; he doesn't need me when he can call up his pal Phil Knight and get door service.)

I feel obligated to mention it because I saw a link there FROM THE WORLD GAME (Australia) that I need to riff on.

(While you're there, please read his comment about Charlie Davies. Twice.

I'll only add this: Bob Bradley would crawl on his belly, naked, through a mile of broken glass if it meant he could have a healthy, fit and in-form Charlie Davies on the field in RSA. If he's not on the roster then it's clear Bob has good reason believe that he knows he can't have that. Yes, it's extremely disappointing, no it's not Bobs' fault. As someone said, you wanna get mad about something, get mad at players who are out partying and driving around in the middle of the night.

I know it sounds harsh but let's all act like grownups for a minute here: Bob Bradley didn't do this to Charlie Davies; Charlie Davies did this to himself.)

The Aussie commentary opines that England in 2018 and the USA in 2022 are as good as done, to which I say: stuff and feathers. Poppycock. Balderdash. And other stuff I can get away saying with here.

In fact, if you had to bet, you'd be smart to go with "None of the above".

Actually, there's still some chance that England can pull it off, and if they do it will reduce the odds of the USA considerably for the simple reason that putting two consecutive World Cups in predominantly white English speaking countries isn't going to fly with the rest of the world.

While you're chewing on that, consider:

This week, in one of the truly stomach-turning rituals of modern sport, the various nations that are entering bids for hosting the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will present themselves in Zurich, genuflecting at the throne of Sepp Blatter and handing over their formal "bids".

These amount to hundreds, even thousands of pages of handsomely bound crapola about how many hotels, airports, hospitals, restaurants, stadiums and high caliber hookers each nation can provide in each of their suggested venue cities.

Vicky's hubby will be there as part of the England delegation, which will reportedly be boosted by Princes William and Harry. Royalty paying him obeisance is the kind of thing Blatter lives for.

The five man USSF team will include Sunil Gulati and for some reason Carlos Bocanegra. We're pretty short on star power.

Each federation will also bring along hundreds of copies of their proposal to be passed out to everybody in FIFA, on the ridiculous pretension that anyone will read them.

Not that nobody will of course, but if anyone thinks that Blatter or Warner or bin Hammam will ever crack the binding on one of those books they're delusional. FIFA knows that the US, England, Spain, Russia, Australia, et. al. have all the stadiums and hotels and airports they need to host a World Cup. Page after page of mind-numbing charts and graphs and numbers and glossy photos of buildings with lots of seats in them are for the wage slaves in windowless offices who are paid to read them and then prepare summaries which will also be ignored.

How much simpler and more honest would it be to hand out envelopes of cash. Because that's all it amounts to in the end: FIFA wants to know what's in it for them, and that's not the kind of thing anyone will find amongst all the statistical mumbo-jumbo.

But, but, but...everyone agrees that England is more or less "due" a World Cup and that the US is where the big money and big crowds are. The conventional wisdom says it's a slam dunk. Who in the world could FIFA possibly have in mind that would be better than them?

Well kids, remember where you heard it first:

Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

Let's start by taking Blatter at his word: he's openly telling bidders that 2018 is reserved for Europe and all the Japans and Koreas and Australias and USA's need to forget that one and focus on 2022. Europe insists on it, Blatter can't survive without it and - not that it matters much - it's the right thing to do.

So most non-European bidders aren't even mentioning 2018 any more and have expunged any reference to it from their proposals. For "the rest of the world" it's 2022 or bust.

In Europe, the bids are Spain/Portugal, the Netherlands/Belgium, England and Russia. And before anyone wants to debate whether Russia is really in Europe, forget it: they're members of UEFA.

Want more proof? Their bid is for 2018 only.

What's more Blatter LOVES THE IDEA of a Russian finals.

Now it's true that as all these FIFA poobahs swan around the globe for their personal "presentation" in each country, they'll all leave the meeting full of happy chat about how splendid the proposal is and what a wonderful World Cup (fill in the country) would present.

But here's the money quote from El Presidente, presented without the slightest hint of irony:

"Russia is not a country but a continent and Russia has big plans to expand.

Leaving aside for the moment the fact that Russia's "plans to expand" are currently scaring crud out of most of their neighbors, and also the idea that, apparently, Blatter thinks this is a good thing, we'll go with "continent" as being the key word here.

Sepp is determined to span the globe with World Cups, boldly going where no man has gone before, and if he can do that from a "personal legacy" standpoint and still a) satisfy Europe and b) find a place where nobody will care about the graft, theft, bribery and general underhandedness, count him in.

Stiffing England costs him nothing. They have no power, the rest of Europe isn't likely to care if it goes East instead of West (well, OK, Northwest) and nobody in England is prepared to close their eyes while FIFA's executives conduct their quadrennial pillaging of world football.

Russia, not so much.

As for the USA, well, it was nice thinking about it but Qatar will kick our ass.

Don't believe me? Here's Seppy:

“The Arab world deserves to host the World Cup. We are now nearing the end of the bidding process for the World Cups in 2018 and 2022 and Qatar is the only country bidding from the Middle East.

I was an advocate of the FIFA’s rotation policy. It was important to bring the World Cup to North America and Africa. Now I strongly feel that the World Cup should come to Qatar.”

"To bring the World Cup to Africa was a project I had in mind 35 years ago, when in February 1976 I undertook a technical course in Addis Ababa. The Arabic world deserves a World Cup.

They have 22 countries and have not had
any opportunity to organise the tournament. When I was first in Qatar there were 400,000 people here and now there are 1.6 million. In terms of infrastructure, when you are able to organise the Asian Games in 2006, with more than 30 events for men and women, then that is not in question."

To save your eyes, I'll summarize:

"They've got lots and lots of lovely money they'll happily give me in return for a World Cup."

The world (and particularly Australia) was aghast when Aussie bid chair Peter Lowey asked the government for $48 million for their bid effort. Remember that the FIFA Executive Committee, consisting of 24 guys, decides these things by majority vote. Which means you only need 12 votes. You do the math.

Well Qatar recently announced that their budget for a World Cup bid is $150 million.

Hey, postage is going up. And have you priced Xerox paper lately?

There are two major drawbacks for Qatar:

The first is the fact that we're talking summertime in the desert here. Players will be dropping like flies.

Simple, say the oil-money-besotted princes: we'll BUILD UNDERGROUND PRACTICE FACILITIES AND AIR CONDITION THE STADIUMS

Their engineers say it can be done if you are willing to spend the money. Which is nice because as it happens Qatar could build the stadiums out of US $100 bills if they wanted.

(I'll be honest: as much as I'd love a US World Cup, I would love to see that stuff too.)

The other main problem is, well, not so easily dealt with:

They don't allow booze.

No word on how they'll get around that one, but bet me they haven't got a solution in mond. No sane person would propose a World Cup where nobody can have a drink.

Two New Frontiers for football. Two countries willing to slosh money around by the truckload. Two countries that aren't going to be at all squeamish about all the skulduggery.

Russia and Qatar. Sorry guys.

Of course there is one hope still out there to have a World Cup nearby:

SEATTLE:

Hundreds of fans and business owners will gather for a rally on Tuesday at noon in Westlake Park to promote Seattle's bid to host the FIFA World Cup.

Local hotel owners and managers coordinated the rally to convince the FIFA committee in Switzerland to accept Seattle's bid over 18 other major cities.

The committee will accept Seattle's proposal this Friday.

If chosen, the most attended sporting event on earth would happen at Qwest Field or Husky Stadium in 2018 or 2022

Here's hoping they're just kidding.