Loose Ends

Please Give Me News Luke
Hey friends, just wanted to give you a few newsworthy points before the weekend when there is another game and all that jazz. News, notes, thoughts, pass the time!

-As I am sure you are aware, Russia has been chosen to host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar will host 2022. While I would have loved this to have been in America for ease of access, I do not have problems per se with Russia, since they can probably pull it off, though this is some shady shit.

Qatar on the other hand is a confusing choice to be sure. Although I am sure Sepp Blatter believes he is actually being the knight is shining armor to the Middle East with the World Cup. Though, the rest if quizzical to say the least. Qatar is roughly the size of Connecticut in America, which is one of the smallest states in the country, it’s 3rd largest city has less than 100,000 people, and it’s average temperature during July is 115. I don’t care how nice the stadia are, when you walk outside, you might die. This of course doesn’t even touch the fact that Qatar has many repressive laws against women and homosexuals, and laws outlawing common practices, like alcohol consumption in public. I am not going to say they paid for the right, because I don’t know that, and their videos were quite impressive, but there are a few giant gaping questions regarding such elementary things as allowing people into the country and not harassing them for being gay or women and going out in public. Maybe Kevin’s right, maybe FIFA should stop giving countries the World Cup that are openly discriminatory towards groups and people and then hide behind their anti-racism sentiment?

-Yesterday, in what was surely the most heartbreaking information you will hear all day, FC Barcelona lost the Copa Catalunya to Espanyol 2-1, then defeated Hospitalet 2-0 to earn second place. We effectively started the kids and some had decent showings, with JDS picking up a goal in the second match. I would be distraught about this, but each match was only 45 minutes and some of the kids got good time in front of Pep. Though the world’s best looking Jehovah’s Witness was left nonplussed about the matter. Salient points: no one injured, young guys got time, go team!

-Barça takes on Osasuna on Saturday at 2:00 EST, 8:00 Barcelona time. We will have previews and all that jazz this weekend.

-Finally, a few stray thoughts on the Clasico to wrap up. Sensational, absolutely thrilling. I was throughly impressed with each player who participated. We went in there, did the work, thrashed the second hottest team on the planet at the time, and did so while getting under their skin beautifully. Being a former keeper, I do always kind of feel bad for Iker during the Clasicos because he gets hung out to dry by his backline. Marcelo, Pepe, and Carvalho were either awful, intermittently awful, or awful and should have been sent off twice. Villa got in on the action, just saying. Great victory, hope it carries through to this weekend.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe

Categorized as Barcelona

By Luke

We calls 'em likes we sees 'em.


  1. No to thread jack, but I clicked a link that showed up in Kxevin’s twitter and got rick rolled by malware, did this happen to anyone else?

    1. I’ve had that link up for over 24hrs now and nothing has happened to me, though I have a Mac and that could be the difference.

    2. Sorry ’bout that. Just go to angleeditorial.com, and the book will be the very first thing that pops up, probably on the left-hand side of the screen.

    3. Oh yeah btw Kevin. You’re a journalist right? What do you write for? I don’t think I’ve seen any of your articles (then again all I read online is football news sites, this blog, and Cracked.com)

    4. I’m an editor at the Chicago Tribune, and don’t write very often. If you do a search at chicagotribune.com, my name will turn up, however. Not as big a smartass as I am here, but the voice is the same.

  2. shocking decisions on FIFA’s part. i’m still stunned. terrible, terrible.

    at least this puts more impetus into my getting to Brazil 2014 by any means possible.

    1. That seems to be the thinking amongst the people I’ve talked to: “now I’m definitely gonna try to make it to Brazil.”

      The Qatar decision was shameful. There’s no other way around it. This is not homerism. I’m neither American, Australian, Korean, etc. This is simply the wrong choice: a bid that failed many of the technical requirements and is designed to burn through a billion or two (ignore the Qatar report claiming it will only run into the 700 million) with little to show for it. The stadium disassembly charade is also absurd, as it would likely be much cheaper to actually build those stadia in the corresponding developing countries, which is roughly what other bids promised.

      This ain’t about breaking new ground or giving smaller countries a chance (Australia would have done that). It’s about some old corrupt men getting their retirement funds padded and consoling themselves with “bringing the World Cup to the Middle East”. They couldn’t leave it to the men that will soon (<10 years) succeed them once a realistic Middle Eastern bid, one in the form of a joint Arab Gulf bid, Egypt, or even Morocco (runner up in 2010), came about.

      They want the credit and won't have to live with the consequences.


    2. FIFA is a shameful organization. If we had any doubts about that, the Qatar decision proves that the old men who run it don’t care about the fans or the games. Let me second Jose’s rant and his excellent points about homophobia, misogyny and intolerance. Luckily, I will be in my dotage by 2022, but it is really too bad for Australia and the US.

    3. Qatar shameful why?. i say a world cup in Australia is silly and shameful, because of the time difference and its winter in July.
      Japan or south Korea are automatically disqualified because they were the hosts back in 2002. the US muscled their way to host the 1994 WC and as i recall nobody said a word. now a lot of people here and elsewhere are accusing Qatar of buying the votes i challenge any one to prove that claim. just the same as i cant prove the claim i made about the US muscling it to get the WC.
      Now some useful information for anyone interested: its Saudi Arabia that has a lot of discrimination against women (no driving, or having no say in anything that matters)not Qatar
      The alcohol drinking in public was a question asked by the visiting inspection delegation, the answer was it will be allowed in some areas as long as its safe and polite
      Qatar has the highest per capital income in the world, but their main export is LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) not oil although they have a good share of that too.
      Finally ill be there, you can go to Brazil if you want which I’m sure would be a great experience but at last i can go to a world cup match and that will be in Qatar 2022

  3. this weekends match will be tougher than RM for sure.

    watched the clasico again last night and can not for the life of me figure how carvalho was not sent off and how arbeloa didnt get carded during his time out there. i swear he was sent on just for the thuggery, otherwise why send on a defender when you are down 4-0? also, if valdes was carded for coming out of his box during the 1st half melee, why did casillas not get carded for coming out after the Ramos-on-Messi incident? would have been his second card and he would have been sent off. peculiar. (actually i like Iker but the ref should be consistent)

    villa is so close to timing his runs perfectly. if he can be better just half the time, watch out. i want to point out again, as a registered Ibra hater never missing a chance at a poke, how often ibra was off not for mistiming his runs a la villa, but simply for not getting back onsides in time. he liked to walk back onsides.

    thanks for humoring me.

    1. Does it really matter HOW a player is or isn’t offside? Villa is guilty of walking back onside as well, or not bothering at all to do so. And he has been offside as much if not more than Ibrahimovic.*

      *A public service announcement from the BFB Fairness Committee

    2. i knew that kxevin wouldnt like what i said, but i said it anyway, and this is the last i will say: to me there *is* a difference between fractionally mistiming your run, and being offsides due to laziness and not getting back onsides when you absolutely have time to. and my strong impression was that ibra was much more guilty of this. i dont remember villa doing that frankly, cant think of a time, but i still have many memories of ibra doing this.

      villa is offsides slightly more (in absolute numbers) than ibra, it’s true, but this is not the point to judge for me, in the same way that when you see the statistics for a match, if one team is more offsides than the other, it can often mean they are attacking more. you cant judge based on # of offsides alone.

      i think our offense is more dynamic with villa than ibra, but i shouldnt have made the comparison with ibra. my main point is that i think villa will get better at timing his runs and we will see even more from him. i feel i am already seeing improvement.

    3. You don’t have memories of Villa doing that, because (and no disrespect intended) you don’t want to have memories of Villa doing that. Villa is the man, Ibrahimovic is an asshat, and that’s that.

      As Kari noted in a comment, bad players will always be bad, their mistakes are magnified and their virtues virtually nonexistent. Ibrahimovic is such a player. I’m on the record as thinking he’s detestable, but both he and Villa were offsides like crazy, many times for the same reasons, either playing just off the shoulder of the defense, or being too slow in getting back on.

  4. Okay, what I am interested to know here is if the criticism of Qatar and having oppressive laws against women is founded on what. I don’t know the rules or laws of Qatar personally as regards to this or that, so are just saying that cos its a Muslim country or an Arabic country or are you saying all this with any real evidence? Are you calling them out for ‘harassing people for being women’ with any research into their legislature and any basis, or just an assumption cos they’re a Muslim country and from the Middle East? Because all the way here in Malaysia or anywhere I’ve gotten my fair share of anti-Muslim sentiment being labeled this or that by people who did so for no reason, so while I understand criticism of the flawed heavily patriarchal societies of some of the Arab countries (things such as not allowing women to drive, etc) and I don’t support that stuff either- I don’t know anything about Qatar and would like to see just out of curiosity what your basis for saying they harass women for being women is.

  5. Luke, have you ever been in Qatar?


    Again, I will have my saying tomorrow, in an extended post. It always amaze me when people start this “holier than thou” bragging. I bet it bring more self satisfaction than one’s self esteem can.

    Mind you, I am not from Qatar, and I didn’t want them to host a world cup. But after all the arrogant hypocritical posts I read in just two hours, I decided to buy Blatter’s poster as soon as I can handle staring at his smirk.

    1. At present, Qatar and Israel have no diplomatic relations, though they are talking about reestablishing them.

      And as Qatar is a Muslim country, where homosexuality is illegal. But since our beautiful game is rife with rampant homophobia, you’re as likely to find an openly gay footballer as you are a roc’s egg.

      These are the things that bother me, even as I understand their belief systems. I also think that when you are hosting an event such as a World Cup, where the globe comes to your country, belief systems sometimes have to come to meet the world that is coming to your space.

      And Russia isn’t the only place in which bananas are thrown at black players, right? So those who think that FIFA’s “Say No To Racism” sloganeering is as empty as a competitive eater’s plate, certainly have some ammunition.

      For me, it isn’t “holier than thou.” It’s a simple question of understanding that when you invite the world into your backyard, accomodations will need to be made. Qatar has a few years to get it all sussed out, right.

      Conversely, within reason, the world also has to recognize where it is going. Look at the Bahrain GP, for example. Formula One’s usual parade of jiggly, half-naked female flesh was reined in for a much more dignified presentation in Bahrain. Adaptability is key, on the part of the host and presenter.

    2. Thank you for making an informed decision and siding with the most “sectarian”, “racist”? (I don’t know, what is the word that describes seperating people based on their religion?) state in the world. (Note also, country who’se “racism” is ignored for fear of being called anti-semite)

      Also, how is Qatar not having relations with a terrorist state harmful to the world cup?

      How about being bothered by the US having a proposition to host the World Cup when it supports murdering children?

      You mentioned politics, this isn’t trolling,and, please quit being hypocrits.

    3. I will say that the human rights, women’s oppression, alcohol restriction, anti-/ArabMuslim arguments are all stupid, and I don’t buy it for one second that Qatar will be anything less than entirely accommodating to their visitors.

      The bid fails on fundamental, technical grounds though, and that they won is a prime indicator of the state of FIFA.

    4. I don’t know much about the technical aspects of the bid, but if it does fail on technical grounds then well yeah then it’s not what I’d support of course, as much as I’d like to see the world see a Muslim country the way people saw South Africa in the 2010 WC (as being quite normal, unlike the general stereotype views of Africa before 2010 and the Middle East now)- and I guess the same goes for Russia.

    5. I was right there with you in the mid-2000s, annoyed (and somewhat offended) at the fact that nobody seemed to give South Africa a chance. I do think this case is very different, though.

    6. Er, this is not a holier than though argument at all. This is an argument for human rights in general and a lack of hypocrisy. If you have ever read any post I have made, I am no huge proponent of America as some bastion of free thought and blah blah blah patriotism, etc.

      The fact that I have never been to Qatar does not mean I cannot read human rights laws and descriptions and determine how they feel about people.

      1. Women are not allowed to partake in outdoors activities without their parents/husbands permission. That is absurd, absolutely fucking absurd. Being a female is an immutable quality of a person that cannot be easily changed, and it can’t be changed in most parts of the world, it’s not an indicator or submissiveness or weakness. This is unacceptable in any form, whether it is religious calls for women to “submit” to men or governments enforcing such bigotry.

      2. Homosexuality is punishable by prison in Qatar. Luckily it’s not death I guess, so let’s give them that. That is wrong on so many levels. I’m not even talking about homosexual marriage, I am talking about the physical, immutable fact of being a gay person. You can call it whatever you want and throw whatever fit you like, but it’s some straight up bullshit. And the fact that there are few openly gay footballers is a nonstarter since the game is known in many parts of the westernized world as being more inclusive of homosexuals at younger levels, and even if not one single person who plays is gay, the fans might be, and they will be at risk. Hell, it wouldn’t matter if no homosexual attended, it’s the damn principle.

      3. Alcohol issues are more of a cherry on top since people should be free to drink.

      Look, I respect the culture. But hosting the biggest sporting event in the damn world in a place with restrictive laws on 50% of the world’s population is a fucking joke to an organization that supposedly prides itself on stopping such abuses.

      So yeah, I’ll ride my high horse on this one because it’s deserved. Just goes further to instill the bigotry in the game that is still rampant, even in 2010. Throwing bananas at people? Hell, let the rest of the fans beat the perpetrators up, maybe that would stop such despicable ignorance.

    7. Luke, not sure if you had the chance yet, but I wrote a (somewhat extended) comment below that might shed some light…

      Either case, it seems Ramzi’s cooking up something..

  6. go to see us go back down on earth from outer space. osasuna will give us hell. ee may have a tough match against valencia, but i wouldn’t say playing at osasuna’s house is any easier. we lost 2 points thanks to pique last season, and almost drew during the triple year were it not for messi to score that wonder goal at the end.

    we showed how good we are against ee and osasuna will never do what they did to us. they may go physical and high pressure, so we will have to raise our game to an even higher level. nonetheless, i expect us to gain 3 points.

    1. I’ll be relieved if we escape with six points against Osasuna and Espanyol. Those are tricky matches and also God do I hate Espanyol, its like they relish screwing with us and live to take us down a peg.

    2. In that same vein, here is a repost of what I sad about Osasuna yesterday:

      Lost in all of the adulation and praise is the fact that we have a very difficult encounter this weekend in Pamplona.

      I think I’m right in saying they are yet to be defeated at home. Last season we drew there, I think Pique scored an own goal in the dying minutes. The year before, Messi spanked one in with about 5 minutes to go in an intense and foggy match. I remember being so angry at Osasuna that match and wanted Messi to “shhh” the crowd when he scored so badly.

      Osasuna players are already saying they won’t make it easy for us and that we won’t score 5 goals against them, which is probably true. The fans in that stadium are ridiculous. Always whistling every call, influencing the ref, etc. They certainly make it difficult for opposing teams.

      I’m nervous. (I’m nervous before every match to be fair) Hope the players are up for a battle and are as motivated to win as they were against Madrid.

  7. Qatar’s votes were bought and sold, and we all know it. No way would such a risky choice have received almost DOUBLE the number of votes that the USA garnered without some form of bribery/collusion. I mean, I could see a few voters willing to take the risk and spread footballing cheer to the Middle East, but MOST of them?? I don’t think so.

    But then again, why shouldn’t Qatar do whatever it can to win? Who’s gonna stop them, FIFA?

    1. And the reason for that being? USA already hosted the WC in 1994, FIFA have been making a big deal about moving the WC to new locations with Asia and Korea/Japan in 2002, South Africa in 2010, Russia in 2018 and then Qatar in 2022 fits the bill well enough of it going to new areas of the world, namely East Europe/North Asia and the Middle East. Not to mention Qatar being wealthy enough for there to have been no problems or worries about the hosting getting held up due to lack of funds for stadiums or the like.

      I’m not saying they WERE or WEREN’T bought or sold, I don’t know obviously to judge it, but why is it that the USA or England or whatever bids are specifically ‘better’ than the other bids? I heard how the Russian bid had it going for them that a WC in Russia would benefit them much more than one in England, Spain/Portugal or Belgium/Netherlands, opening up a new area to the WC and improving infrastructure etc. So if Qatar bid = hosting the WC in a new area, guarantee of fancy high-tech stadiums or what not and knowing they will be done, letting the world see the Middle East the way that the world saw South Africa in the 2010 hosting, and so on, why is it so inconceivable that they COULDN’T have won were it fair?

      I’m not saying I know for certain it was one way or the other, but is it really so inconceivable that the USA bid might not have won favor with most?

    2. Then again reading some of the earlier comments it says that the Qatar bid wasn’t good for technical reasons- if that is true then yeah okay I see what the problem is

    3. Yeah, meng, I’ve been following this for a while now. If you want to know more, read the technical report by FIFA and the FIFA-sponsored McKinsey report on profitability. These will tell you why other bids were far better than Qatar.

  8. Qatar was the wrong choice and so was Russia. You can’t deny that england should have got the 2018 as they have the 2nd best league in the world and the most watched league. The fact that they have not hosted a world cup since 1966 is a joke, the Panorama and Times investigations into FIFA were probably the reason england didn’t get it. FIFA are basically a boys club that give the tournaments to whoever they can profit the most from and who don’t ask too many questions, Russia and Qatar will ask NO questions and pay whatever is needed quietly, unlike england.

    I am not english by the way, I’m Irish so am not biased.

    1. Maybe cos as some Russian bid supporters pointed out, Russia would have benefited more from it than England or Spain would have? I’m no expert but I saw on CNN that the bid would result in a huge boost in terms of upgrading of infrastructure like roads, communications etc and be a huge economic and sporting boost to Russia. The RUssian bid team stressed how they had much more to gain from it than England or Spain where the infrastructure is good, the game is established, WC has been previously hosted, etc right?

      Not saying for certain one way or the other, just bringing up the possibility that a Russian WC may have its reasons.

    2. But if it becomes a fiscal Trojan horse, like the Olympics for Greece or (many say) this past World Cup for South Africa, what then?

      I don’t know enough about the process to be able to conclusively say that any votes were bought or sold, just as I don’t know enough to huzzah! the contentions that FIFA are a bunch of corrupt little gits.

      But big sports tends to follow the money. F1 makes no bones about why it went to Bahrain or Abu Dhabi.

    3. Kevin, this would be a good time to pick up soccernomics if you haven’t already.

      Pretty firmly beats down the myth that hosting a World Cup (or the Olympics, by analogy) results in a fiscal benefit for the host country. The only tournaments that are ever a fiscal benefit (’cause most of the money goes to FIFA, not the host) are bids where the stadia & infrastructure already exists.

      Now, there is a more unquantifiable benefit to productivity for a host nation due to “national pride” effects, but it takes a whole lot of national pride to fill in a billion dollar fiscal hole.

    4. Every country that hosts these things almost certainly loses money in the long run. I think the last event that made money was maybe 1994 World Cup. The only reason that is is because the US used all existing infrastructure, didn’t have to build new stadia, new airports, new roads, etc.

      Even with the SLC Winter Olympics, Vancouver, even Germany 2006 lost money because they built opulent new arenas all over the place and had to beef everything up.

      The problem is that these places have to borrow money to build all these things and have to compound everything on top of that. It’s a fallacy that these things make money. Hell, Greece 2004 might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for them financially in the future (made them a near useless commodity because the money they had to borrow to finish everything so close to the Games was at astronomic interest rates, thus why their debt burden is now ridiculous). South Africa spent more money than they actually have in viable assets for stadia that now sit empty.

      Brazil might be ok because they have so many standing stadia at this point. But they will still lose money.

      Good points Patrick.

  9. I don’t like politics. The more we talk about this, the uglier this will probably get, because people obviously see this differently (I’m in the Ramzi, Pep, Zidane and Ferguson camp in that I think Qatar was the right choice).

    Let us get back to Barca because Osasuna AWAY FROM HOME is a game that could make out Clasico win meaningless. This is a game that terrifies me; the Basques don’t joke around.

    1. I’m with Kari here, I hate politically charged discussions. I’d tell a funny story of how much politics suck where I’m from, but- okay, I’ll just tell the story. See recently we got the two-party system for the first time here where I live, and people went ridiculously overboard with politics. In the capital where I live most people seem to hate all politicians equally but in some of the smaller islands the political divide is so strong that people from one party and the other don’t even talk cos they hate each other that much, and even siblings or cousins have stayed months without even talking to each other cos of being on opposing political parties. (It’s strange how people get so serious over politics, but then again if I read the comments on any Yahoo News article Republicans and Dems seem to hate on each other as much in the comment threads). Anyway yeah the two parties have two colors, yellow and blue. And the guys who support the blue party hate the yellow party supporters so much in this one town that the blue-party people always wear a blue item of clothing and the yellow-party people always wear a yellow item of clothing and none of them wear clothes of the opposite color. And what’s worse, the blue party people loathe yellow so much that they don’t even want to eat yellow colored food, so they put blue food coloring in their custard (that’s in this one particularly politically charged island I went to, not in general). Now that’s ridiculous. Like not talking to your family over some politician guy you don’t even know personally is ridiculous. Ah okay story is getting a bit too long. End.

      Well anyway. If we win the remaining games of the year including Osasuna and Espanyol I’ll be happy and be a lot more confident of us winning the league. If we do that and EE drop any points, all the better. If we get a big win over Osasuna or Espanyol even better, cos someone on BS.com pointed out that they are maybe the only two teams we haven’t thrashed even once in the Pep era yet and have only gotten narrow wins at best. I’d especially love to smash five or so past Espanyol. And cross my fingers and hope that Valencia, Sevilla and Villareal take some points off Madrid.

    2. Maldives. I’m from the capital, which has population around 100,000 and where most people just hate politics in general. Then there are 200 or so other smaller islands with tiny populations like 1500 people or so. In a few of those islands the political stuff has reached insane levels, like this one island of population around 1500 or so I think where siblings don’t talk to each other and people color their food over it.

    3. Zidane & Furguson were both remunerated by Qatar before making their statements.

      If you gave me an all expenses paid trip to Qatar I bet I’d say more nice things about it too. Not wanting to bite the hand that feeds and all.

    4. Zidane was in major ad campaigns for the Qatar bid and you know that guy would do anything for money, he did play for real after all.

  10. What s your problem with russia.Is the biggest country in europe,one country with great history,culture and i am happy for them.England in 66 and spain in 82 hosted the W.C.Perfect choice.And from what i have read the best olympic games in history was in 1980.

    1. Is it a coincidence that Pele’s most famous World Cup was in 1970 in Mexico, and Maradona’s legendary World Cup was in 1986 and also in Mexico? Is Mexico World Cups a legend-making land or something? Should Messi star in World Cup in Mexico?

    2. I think you might be missing the point. Holding a World Cup in Qatar isn’t like holding a World Cup in Mexico. Qatar is by no means as poor as Mexico (in GDP per capita terms), and I’m not criticizing that.

      Holding the World Cup in Qatar isn’t like holding it in El Salvador (a country more to the size of Qatar). It’s like holding it in Monaco.

    3. Oh I wasn’t comparing the two, just randomly pointing out the coincidence of Pele and Maradona both having iconic tournaments in Mexico. Nothing to do with the bidding for these World Cups.

    4. I’m actually very excited for the Russia bid. I think more exposure to Russian culture & the country itself would be great for the western world who still think James Bond and Nuclear weapons every time someone says Russia. There is a great cultural history and awesome people there that need positive exposure to get that country on track and involved with the greater international community.

    5. Also, technically, they don’t have a lot of problems. Good national team. A decent league which will use the stadia built. Many wonderful old big cities with public transportation. No environmental problems. Limited foreign relations liabilities (not too happy about S. Ossetia situation, but not my call really, certainly better than agreeing to defensive pacts with Iran & not recognizing Israel b/c of their religion.)

    6. Well technically they don’t not recognize Israel cos of its religion but cos of the whole Palestinian situation… but that’s a whole different thing really. Point being no matter what one’s opinion on the Palestinian issue is, it’s not fair to make the statement that its just cos of the religion, cos that’s not the stated reason. Especially considering that synagogues and churches as well as Christian and Jewish populations exist in Qatar (yes, synagogues are allowed and they exist there).

  11. Brazil for me in 2014 I think too. I was at the Espanyol game last year when we won with a Zlatan penalty and as far as I can remember Messi was injured and I’m pretty sure Villa wasn’t at the club then so I think we should put a few past them this time, I hope. Osasuna don’t concede too many but I can only see a win there too.

  12. Sorry in advance, but this might turn out to be the longest comment ever on this blog.. 🙂 (And it’s not even Barca-specific – I feel I’ve sinned.. forgive me). I actually wrote this before seeing Luke’s post and quite frankly can’t be bothered to do a full re-edit (although I am adding a few direct responses in there now).

    I must say, I totally expected these results and am quite happy to see the WC going to Russia and Qatar – two countries who I believe deserve it. The good thing is, they are two countries who will be extremely prepared to throw money at the project to ensure success in every possible way. Oil money (or in the case of Qatar – natural gas), doesn’t necessarily mean bribery – that’s just cynical stereotyping. Relationships however do come to the foray and it has been rumored for years that Sepp Blatter has strong ties to the Qatari royal family. But then again, that’s just rumors.

    Here’s the voting breakdown via FIFA’s official site:

    2018 FIFA World Cup™
    Round 1: England 2 votes, Netherlands/Belgium 4 votes, Spain/Portugal 7 votes and Russia 9 votes (as no absolute majority was reached, the candidate with least amount of votes, England, was eliminated)

    Round 2: Netherlands/Belgium 2 votes, Spain/Portugal 7 votes and Russia 13 votes (Russia obtained an absolute majority)

    2022 FIFA World Cup™
    Round 1: Australia 1 vote, Japan 3 votes, Korea Republic 4 votes, Qatar 11 votes, USA 3 votes (Australia eliminated)

    Round 2: Japan 2 votes, Korea Republic 5 votes, Qatar 10 votes and USA 5 votes (Japan eliminated)

    Round 3: Korea Republic 5 votes, Qatar 11 votes, USA 6 votes (Korea Republic eliminated)

    Round 4: Qatar 14 votes and USA 8 votes (Qatar obtained an absolute majority)

    For 2018, it first appeared that the joint-bids were going to be the weakest of the bunch. After all, they were both in close proximity to the 2006 and 1998 WCs and obviously held Euro competitions (which are arguably of similar importance on the global scale) in 2000 and 2004. Yes, both joint-bids could have been loads of fun for the typical football fan – but in reality, they contributed very little towards FIFA’s social and cultural efforts. The real surprise here was how badly the UK fell out of favor. Maybe it was the BBC documentary that stirred up the pot and FIFA thought it best to stay away, maybe it was that they had the Euro in 1996, or maybe it was just standard politics. Russia on the other hand obviously represented an opportunity to take the competition to a new region of the world where the economic and political landscapes have been relatively stable and advancing. I think that a win for Russia is a win for Eastern Europe in a way. But since I’m not fully aware of the current socio-political landscape in that region, if there are any Eastern Europeans around, I’d love to get your views on that…

    As for 2022, I felt that S.Korea and Japan were pretty much out of the race from the start (so the number of votes they received was actually quite surprising) since they hosted the competition as recently as 2002. By that standard, USA 1994 was somewhat recent and maybe lost some points for lacking a ‘unique cultural character’ – not that the US is not unique – just that it’s not ‘oriental’ or ‘down-under’ from the Western standpoint (which comprises of the majority of Europe and North America). Australia on the other hand could have been strong contenders for the bid, so I was surprised seeing them knocked out in round 1. Maybe their bid just wasn’t strong enough? Qatar on the other hand, is both unique in a cultural sense and stands to represent MENA (Middle-East and North Africa). Not to mention, the Middle-East has been taking quite a beating from the international media for decades (which only seems to get worse with every terrorist attempt, peace attempt [ironic, I know] or religious debate, etc) – so in a way, this is a nice gesture of acceptance from the international community.

    A few words on Qatar 2022 in specific:
    (When I wrote this, I was in no way being defensive as I simply hadn’t read this post prior – but in retrospect, I think it pretty much responds to many of the criticisms posed above)

    The challenges that Qatar will face are quite immense – especially when it comes to meeting their promises of a ‘cool’ (as in: not scorching hot with 90+% humidity levels) WC – but then again, if anyone’s got the money to make something like this come true, then it’s them. Good thing is: the technologies prepared for the competition could be spread to other competitions/countries for future use.

    The only real concern I see with Qatar is its size. The entire country is smaller than Connecticut (the third smallest state), with the capital (and only major city), Doha, being roughly twice the size of Manhattan (sand patches included throughout). So, that makes it a bit hard for me to imagine such a condensed WC, with limited travel and such high densities of fans congregating in one city for most, if not the entire, competition. Then again, it’ll definitely be unique.

    Of lesser concern to me are their laws on alcohol in public places. Similar to Gulf countries like the UAE – public sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in ‘respect’ for the Muslim beliefs and traditions. Hotels however are allowed to serve alcohol freely. So I imagine the rule will either be bypassed for the duration of the WC, or they’ll find some way around it where they grant hotels the right to legally occupy open spaces (for free/small fee) by setting up stands and marking off their area. So I doubt that’ll be an issue.

    [In direct response to Luke: There are NO oppressive or repressive laws towards women, which makes me rather curious where you got your info. But since I can’t exactly claim to be an expert in Qatari law, I prefer to base my claims on experience. In Qatar, women go out all the time alone, with groups of other women, with men they aren’t married to, etc. That includes going to malls, beaches, walking the streets, you name it. The veils worn by women are in no way signs of oppression, on the contrary, they are either based on religious belief or, more commonly of the Gulf region, are worn purely out of respect for their ‘traditional’ and historical value. In fact, go out clubbing in Qatar, Dubai, etc and you’ll come across plenty of women who, by day are in their veiled outfits (which can be rather fashionable, believe it or not) and at night in short skirts and tops.

    Regarding the acceptance of homosexuality – well, the extremists are no different than many small-town America Christian communities. In terms of the legal views on homosexuality, well it may not be ‘permitted’ per se, but that doesn’t mean it’s not common and, dare I say, socially accepted by many. I guess you could say it’s more like a country-wide version of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – not half as radical as you make it sound. And I’m sure if you visit Qatar at some point, you would could very well come across people whose sexual orientations are ambiguous – to say the least.

    Most importantly though, the citizens, residents and visitors are all very happy and are far from complaining or calling for any ‘human rights’ interventions.]

    The last time an Arab/Middle-Eastern country attempted to win a WC bid was when Egypt, Libya/Tunisia and Morocco (I think) bid for 2010. So another 12 year wait for the Arab world to have a competition in-house isn’t too bad. Plus, Arabs (I myself being one – living in neighboring Dubai), truly are football mad – especially when compared to the other 2022 bidding nations (no offence – solely basing this on personal experience). So I’m certain it’ll be one hell of a party in 2022!

    Congrats to Russia and Qatar! Looking forward to both very much… even if I might be married w/kids by the time they come around 😮

    PS. Ramzi – I hope that didn’t step over any of what you were going to write about.. 🙂

    Here are some links to some of the campaign material used in both winning bids:

    Finally – and possibly most importantly – this is just another win for Pep!!

    1. In response to people’s comments regarding the Qatari-Israeli relations:

      Consider it a political boycott. Why is that so hard to imagine? Do I agree with it? No, I do not. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a viable political tactic when wanting to support a specific cause – that of the Palestinian ‘non-nation’. Qatar’s stand on Israel and Israeli politics is very different from that of Iran. It is simply a boycott – nothing more.

      Again, there are huge differences between what is stated and what is applied. Using Dubai as an example: In the past, Israeli’s were not allowed to enter. Even non-Israeli’s with Israeli entry/exit stamps on their passports weren’t allowed in. However, there is always a degree of flexibility and understanding – and change. I recall a time when I was back in school flying in with a friend who had previously entered Israel (this was 11 years ago) and upon arrival, there was a risk of him having to leave on the next flight out. But, common sense came into the equation and my friend was allowed into the country. Ten years later and an Israeli tennis player is allowed in the country to play at the ATP Dubai Tennis Championship.

      Plus, if Israeli-Qatari relations are such a worry to the global political arena, then I’m sure the US wouldn’t have set up one of their major Middle East military bases in Qatar.

      It’s all just politics. In politics, when no one’s being harmed (physically or otherwise), the concept of morality ceases to exist – there is no right and wrong.

    2. Seroiusly though – this makes me wonder if the reactions would have been this strong if, let’s say, the US, UK, and Spain-Portugal were in one pot, and Qatar, S.Korea, and Japan/Russia were in the other… Just a thought.

    3. Is, I was reading articles on actual Qatar law and the civil laws they have on the books. I, admittedly, have never been there, but the articles I was reading were from the human rights council and other human rights orgs. I hope you are right about the social atmosphere and the acceptance that the people show towards those who have different outlooks than they.

      Once again, my earlier rant is about the laws in general, and your comments about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell are completely true and bigoted. I whole-heartedly agree.

  13. PS. Sorry Kari and outerspacedout, didn’t mean to cause you further anguish with another semi-political post.. I had no idea there was so much posted on the topic already 🙂

  14. I didn’t want to respond but…

    “Women are not allowed to partake in outdoors activities without their parents/husbands permission. That is absurd, absolutely fucking absurd. Being a female is an immutable quality of a person that cannot be easily changed, and it can’t be changed in most parts of the world, it’s not an indicator or submissiveness or weakness. This is unacceptable in any form, whether it is religious calls for women to “submit” to men or governments enforcing such bigotry.

    This is just bullsh*t. I’m sorry, but it is. And this is why Ramzi asked you if you’ve ever been to Qatar.

    I think people are really riding on stereotypes and what they read in the media. There is a difference between CULTURE and RELIGION; when it comes to Arab countries, people mix the two.

    I’ll have you know my MUSLIM FEMALE friends, as well as some of family members, have gone to Qatar–they haven’t once been told they couldn’t go outside without permission. Not once. They weren’t arrested when seen by themselves either. Nor were they told they had to put on a hijab.

    I have friends there with kids and it’s not like they aren’t allowed to go outside. They can do their shopping by themselves or hang out outside. But, because they are taking care of the kids (like normal housewives we have here) their husbands do the shopping sometimes.

    Now, I just don’t see why Qatar wouldn’t do a good job hosting the WC. The people there absolutely LOVE futbol. They go batsh*t crazy over their teams like everyone else. Okay, the US lost the bid. Okay, (maybe, who knows) you didn’t want them to win. You can be disappointed without putting down a whole country. It may not seem that way to you, but it does to me.

    As for homosexuality, why do you wait and see what the Qatar bidders have to say about it? Right now, a lot of people are basically saying they should not have won based on their religious beliefs– I call that hypocrisy if you consider yourself democratic. I’m sure they took their own laws into consideration before they began the campaign. You’re acting as if 12 years from now, someone is going get arrested for being a homosexual. That could be true NOW, but who’s to say 12 years from now, things won’t be different. You’re acting as if they’ll never try to accommodate anyone.

    It’s like South Africa all over again. It really is. The topics may be different but the idea is essentially the same. “Why couldn’t the WC be hosted in a country I’m comfortable with? A country I’m familiar with.”

    Why don’t we just congratulate Qatar and give them the benefit of the doubt instead of saying, “No way! They don’t deserve it! It should go to us!”.

    And this is precisely why I hate politics–it makes things ugly

    1. “Now, I just don’t see why Qatar wouldn’t do a good job hosting the WC.”

      They will do a decent job. It’ll be the smallest, most expensive (thus exclusive) World Cup due to the paucity of tickets and hotel rooms, but it will still be a nice, cute World Cup. I even think they might not wear out the players and manage the heat well.

      But that doesn’t change the fact that FIFA basically ignored every objective measure of quality of bid (again, read the technical report and the McKinsey financial report), passing over Australia, Korea, Japan and the United States which put forth far superior bids that actually met the guidelines of FIFA. Qatar can do a fine job. But it was by no measure the best bid. In fact, by many measures, it was the worst bid for 2022.

      Did you know that FIFA requires 12 host cities? That Qatar has only 3 cities hosting, and made a mockery of the requirement by listing Doha suburbs as separate cities? That Qatar will be building up to get a little over the bare minimum of hotel rooms required by FIFA (80,000 hotel rooms for a tournament hosting three 40k+ games a day, plus media, FIFA, and teams/staff)? That they have one international airport to service the tournament?

      Or that their soccer history is staggeringly poor, having never qualified to the World Cup and being ranked 113 in the world (curiously, exactly 100 places below Russia 😛 )?

      These FIFA Execs will get to say they brought the World Cup to Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. End of. I agree that there should be some consideration for breaking new ground, but this tiny World Cup (the lowest ticket number of any bid, by the way) is not the nearly the best the Middle East could do. It’s going to provide a lesser experience for fans and players alike, but the FIFA poobahs will leave a legacy of taking the World Cup to the new regions.

      I give some small consideration to Qatar because they were a bit screwed by UEFA in this bid process. The original plan was apparently a joint bid with another Arab Gulf country (perhaps UAE, who has qualified). Then the size would not have been as much of an issue and the loads of money burned in this endeavor would have created those crazy stadiums without creating obscene white elephants. But back then joint bids weren’t allowed, until UEFA arm-twisted FIFA into allowing Sportugal and Betherlands.

    2. Awesome.

      Now this is the argument that should have been put forth originally. A lot of things here I didn’t know (rather, didn’t care to know. The WC isn’t coming to Canada anyway. Why would it? 🙁 )

      I agree with what you’re saying, Jose.

    3. Thanks, Kari.. I think I will eventually warm to the Qatar bid, once I forget the whole bid process. I mean, we all get 12 years to get used to the idea, even if it looks to be plain crazy right now 🙂

    4. Yeah I agree with Qatar not getting it for technical reasons or logical reasons whatever and pretty much the stuff Jose said, but I don’t like the stuff said elsewhere at all.

    5. Jose, thanks for the additional details and proposing a much more relevant argument.

      In my mind, a bid with the UAE would have been ideal for so many reasons. But, at the same time some of those FIFA rules aren’t exactly ‘fair’. For instance, the 12 city stipulation really wasn’t met by South Africa 2010 either – they only had 10. So maybe these rules aren’t exactly set in stone. Otherwise, I presume the other bidding nations would have every right to sue FIFA. While I do share the same concern over the size of the country, I’m excited to see how it will turn out. I’m not so sure that it’ll be more expensive than the typical western WC since we can’t predict hotel/ticket pricing this far in advance. And I wouldn’t be too cynical by thinking it would be ‘cute’ because for all we know – it could be a huge hit or even legendary. So, I say stay positive.

      Regarding the hotel situation, I am rather confident in their ability to meet demands. A WC bid doesn’t need to be over the top in every dimension. So, if their presentation showed how they would meet the minimum quota of hotel rooms, that doesn’t necessarily mean that additional preparations aren’t in the pipeline. Trust me when I say, building a new hotel (or 10) is a pretty quick process out here. I mean, at some point in 2008, Dubai was planning on adding an additional 100,000 rooms by 2015 – which would have meant tripling capacity. So on that front I’m not concerned much.

      The airport bit is tricky. I’ll wait and see what they’ve got planned. I can’t imagine the solution would be to bring sleeping bags to spend a couple days in line at the airport (or travel agents).

      As for their horrible ranking. Well – c’est la vie, for now. No seriously though, we can’t assume they won’t improve. I can’t imagine their national team not kicking its own ass for the next 12 years to improve. S.Korea for instance was 62nd in the world 6 years before co-hosting 2002.

      So, a few rules might have been bent. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it wasn’t in the best interest of the sport or the fans. After all, there are criteria being scored in the process (right?). Sure, the FIFA boys may be a little obsessed with spreading the game and taking credit. But I can’t blame them for that cus sometimes I too enjoy rooting for the underdog, especially if I’m convinced of their potential and passion.

    6. Correction: Only 9 cities in SA 2010. And looking back, was it really worth it? Some stadia had only 4 games of little significance played in them and several pitch quality complaints.

    7. Dunno if you’ll read this Jose, but awesome response. There are pretty sound, non-geopolitical concerns over Qatar’s hosting of the WC. I can’t wait until the environmentalists jump on this issue. Can you imagine the amount of heat that is going to be generated by all those air-conditioners working to cool the stadiums?

      I’m honestly surprised (though I guess I shouldn’t be, considering it’s FIFA) that the U.S. didn’t get it. It was probably the “safest” bid out of all the candidates. Oh, well. There’s always next time.

  15. Well im glad i wont be having to hear jingoistic Englishmen arrogantly talking about “football’s coming home”.Their outrage has made me laugh.”Oh we had the odds”.NEWSFLASH <English bookmakers don't make you favorites.We had our future king! (sadface) WE had becks !Oh poor things..Anything else im not interested in as long as England didnt get it.Yea i'm sad but meh.8 years less of skysports brainwashing =YAY

    1. But they have the best and most watched league in the WORLD with Didier DROGBA and Fernando TORRES!

      lol, this was literally along the lines of a bit in the England bid presentation. The Spanish delegation must have been like “wait, he’s OURS!”, jajaja.

    2. Now the England delegation is asking for explanations from FIFA on why England didn’t have a successful bid.
      Answer: David beckham was their anchor man.

    3. Reading comments like this only make me all the more glad

      “It is a real shame that the greatest nation in world football cannot host the World Cup.”


      the world has dodged a bullet here seriously…

  16. PDF of the December issue of World Soccer Magazine if anyone is interested.


    Courtesy of bobik007 at fbtz.com

  17. @IS and Kari: YES THANK YOU.

    @Luke: I already posted one of the earlier comments on this post wondering where you got that particular bit of information and whether you were just making an assumption based on it being a Muslim country, and well if as it seems it was just an assumption, sorry man but that was pretty messed up of you. At least check up on whether what you’re writing is true first before assuming.

    @A general rant: Also there is no ‘religious calls for women to submit to men’, there may be patriarchal aspects highly entrenched in some societies which are cultural not religious (not specifically Qatar) but that doesn’t make it a religious command. I’m so sick of people going on about Islam being the evil (not saying you were Luke, but a lot of people do seem to go on about it)- back when Islam was first introduced, it prohibited the common practice of killing girl babies, decreed that women could own property, had the right to divorce husbands, wives could not be traded or inherited, a husband must provide lodging and quarters of their own for the wife, hitting women was illegal, women as well as men had to get an education, etc, things that were non-existent in culture previous to then and was revolutionary for the time in that region, so painting Islamic culture as being the one putting down women compared to other historical cultures is quite unfair imo.

    Not defending current practices of some countries such as not allowing women to drive or study, which is wrong and in many cases more culturally driven than with any religious basis, but I’m just saying the general ‘ohh Islam is oppressive to women’ argument is silly. Of course things that were revolutionary at the time may seem outdated now, but compared to up until the 20th century with the suffrage movement and feminism and all that only decades ago, its hardly fair to label it as being a ploy to submit women to men or whatnot. I’m just posting this cos I’m really sick of some of the things people say, and I wanted to provide a little bit of context for people who may not know.

    And yeah I really hate political discussions, which is why I don’t even read Yahoo News anymore cos of the comments (reports on civilian deaths in Iraq or Afghanistan, comments like ‘they’re Muslim right? who cares?’ or ‘oh one less Muslim in the world is supposed to be a bad thing?’). It makes you feel a little sick. Political discussions in general make me feel a little sick. Let’s make a consensus and decide to stop. Any non football related talk.

    1. Thanks for that… I know how you feel about needing to let that out.

      And ya let’s all get back to the subject.. Barca.

      (Although I am kinda looking forward to Ramzi’s points… but we can always stop after that)

  18. I agree with Kari, outerspacedout, and IS.

    I don’t know where you get your information Luke, but I hope you research and read more.

    People that are complaining about Qatar winning using “Won’t do a good job” excuse doesn’t make sense and absolutely hypocritical. How would you know 12 years from now Qatar will or won’t set up the best World Cup ever ?

    I’m Muslim, I’m Middle Eastern, I’m Egyptian. I don’t have machine guns and grenades in my house. We don’t bomb each other instead of greetings. I don’t go around killing people. Women work, They have jobs, They can go out alone without permission, I have many professors who are women.

    1. Bravo.

      And in a way, I guess this post had its benefits in that misconceptions are being cleared up among our readers (and posters) in these comment posts.

      Many Muslim girls I know (and talk to, yeah its not a criminal offence or anything) are proudly feminist and girl-power and stuff, and also wear the hijab (which is a scarf and clothes with long sleeves and long trousers or skirts instead of shorts or shorter skirts) by choice cos its a cultural or religious representation for many people. And many girls I know don’t like how some women from other cultures look down on them as ‘being oppressed’ and ‘being weak’ or ‘being brainwashed’ for deciding to follow the cultural or religious aspect and wear a hijab, like no ‘real’ woman could possibly choose to wear hijab or scarves or whatever culture or not, either.

  19. I don’t know anything about politics and laws in Qatar and thus won’t talk about it.

    But I’ve read some months ago about huge financial problems of Dubai, the whole wealth of the Arabian states is based on oil and/or gas which is going to run empty within the next 30, 40 years. Ok, the WC is only in 12 years, but Dubai already has experienced a massive blow with respect to their economic growth.
    I also don’tunderstand what Qatar wants to do with all the new, super-high-tech stadiums AFTER the WC. There are simply no professional teams that attract enough people to fill any of those new stadiums. Maybe some Argentina-Brazil-like international friendlies, but the stadiums will hardly be used on a regular basis. So why should they spend, dare I say waste, so much money for a single, one month lasting event? I don’t get it. What is the long-term profit for Qatar (aside from possibly conveying a different image of their and other arabic countries)?

    I personally have seen lots of photos from Dubai, because a friend of mine knows an architect who lives there and he has visited him several times. When I saw those pictures, I was more shocked than fascinated by all the ‘insane’ construction projects (building a whole now earth consisting of islands in the ocean etc.). They’ve overdone it, and the money they have constantly spent over the last decade(s) for gigantic building projects should have been used for other things. It seems to have gotten out of control… which is why I’m really excited how Dubai, Qatar and the other Emirates will look like in 25 years’ time. The WC seems to be just another crazy project for me, neglecting ecologic challenges and the more serious problems of an economy based on ephemerality.

    1. In summary Helge, are the Gulf states a little over the top? Yes. A lot over the top? Yes. Attention, recognition, and an obvious economic profit are the primary motives.

      Dubai’s definitely had some financial problems over the past 2 years but you should know that Dubai has less than 3% of the oil reserves of the UAE. So, in stepped big brother, Abu Dhabi, with over 95% of the oil reserves to help Dubai keep afloat.

      The oil and gas industry will support the oil and gas-rich economies for a few more decades. And in the meantime, they are all creating their own trade and economic hubs to become less dependent. So financially, while it is still bizarre, it’s very doable.

      Regarding the stadia, well apparently Qatar is planning on building several which can be dismantled once the competition is over. They claim that once dismantled, the pieces can then be reconstructed for other competitions in less-fortunate or less-equipped countries.

    2. “also don’tunderstand what Qatar wants to do with all the new, super-high-tech stadiums AFTER the WC”

      They’re gonna dismantle them and move the materials to impoverished nations, so they wont be “white elephants”.

  20. I wish that it had gone to Oz, but I am not against the Qatar move. I dont know about the corruption thing and don’t really care, as far as I’m concerned there was probably corruption and bribery from every team. The whole FIFA/UEFA system is corrupt.

    Australia would have been great, we have awesome stadiums over east, we have passionate fans (not necessarily football fans but Aussie Rules fans that always jump on the World Cup bandwagon) and a team that has been building and building over the last few years.

    As I said, I have nothing against Qatar winning and as said before, I’m sure they will hold a fantastic cup, and will treat the travelling supporters very well, my only concern is the intense heat they get over there, it is not a climate suited for European players at all. Maybe Australia has a good chance, playing in our type of climate? Who Knows?

    1. I was hoping that it will land in OZ. All they had to do was basically transform the rugby or football how they call it here into a soccer stadium, which isn’t hard as only the pitch needs some new lines and posts.
      And the country is just sooo beautiful!

      But…. World Cup’s are held in June/July and in that time, it’s winter in OZ. Normally when you see the spectators at a World Cup, they’re all half-naked, holding beer and hot dog. It would really look odd if they’re in jackets. Not to say that it never happens, it does in Europe where football is played in cold weather but World Cup has a carnival like atmosphere. And you can’t really achieve that in winter for over a month.
      Other than that, I see no other con’s in staging it in OZ.
      The video presentation was awful though. People were calling in to the radio stations the next morning expressing their disgust 😆

    2. Despite all I’ve said about the Qatar bid above, I was actually just as excited about more for Australia. That’s why I was so surprised about them losing out in the first round.

      I doubt the weather conditions would have been an issue, after all, it was winter in South Africa and it’s much easier to heat an area than it is to cool it. One vote in round one probably points to some significant issues with the bid itself.

  21. could we please look at Pep’s Picture in the Post and get back to some barcelona news please…

  22. All I saw is World Cup banter so lets get some FM2011 screenshots!!

    We should’ve been down 2-0.. but. 😀 Sparked a comeback. We took the lead in league and are about to win it. Messi was hurt, and Pedro was out.


    We won first match 3-1. They scored 3 goals on 2 shots.. gutted. Ended up WINNING match in E.T. 😀

    What a drubbing.

    From my first save.

    Good day all! 😀

    1. Ronaldo misses a penalty, this game is pretty realistic lol

      Martin Montoya? gee your that confident in the youth players?

    2. I have to deal with a lot of injuries. At one point Puyol, Alves, Pique, and Masch were out 3 months.

      I may have just lost the league because of this bull. I thought after VV saved the penalty I would win still.


      +5 added on draw in +8 argh.

      The thing i’ve noticed is my Barca B team got relegated, Enrique sacked, and a bunch of the players requested transfers. Romeu, Bartra, Fontas, etc. Sucked 😐

    3. My Barça B team is niceeeeee. They won the league just now. I may have helped them out with several signings lol but still.

    4. You know, i took my own personal revenge on that thug S. Ramos in FM2011 with an evil plan !! 😀

      He was transfer listed for 10m because of a fight with Mourinho. Before the Clasico, i didn’t even think of having anything to do with him. But his antics pissed me off so much that i bought him ! Sounds strange ? But wait…

      Then i put him up for a loan to buy. Naturally many big clubs were interested. I loaned him to Man Utd in January with them paying whole salary and a future fee of 25m.

      But here’s the twist ! Before loaning him, i gave him a sub appearance with my Barca team. And now, after going to Utd he can not play for 6 months because he has already played for 2 clubs in the same year ! Thus effectively ruining his career while making a little profit of my own !! 😀

  23. i think some people might be getting a bit too PC in defending Qatar’s selection against the uproar it’s caused.


    Others, however, may well take a different view. In May this year, Amnesty International published their summary of concerns in relation to Qatar. Their report, which covers the period January to December 2009 but is still regarded as current, claims women face discrimination and violence and says hundreds of people continued to be arbitrarily deprived of their nationality.

    The report also details how at least 18 people, mostly foreign nationals, were sentenced to flogging of between 40 and 100 lashes for offences related to “illicit sexual relations” or alcohol consumption. In June this year Amnesty International called on Qatar to “lift restrictions on the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and to take steps to promote freedom of the press”.

    Another controversial issue is that homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. “It’s obviously very disappointing to see Fifa giving their backing to a country where homosexuality is illegal and where people can get imprisoned,” said Ed Connell, a spokesman for the Gay Football Supporters Network. “The governing body of football are trying to send out a message that homophobia is unacceptable but they are endorsing a country where it’s illegal. It just sends out a very bad message. You wonder how people are meant to interpret Fifa’s commitment to tackling homophobia when they endorse a country in this way.”


    that’s from the Guardian, today. sporting concerns, even though significant in this case, should still take 2nd place to human rights concerns. i’m still pretty shocked that FIFA went this far out on a limb, and while i dismissed the accusations of vote-buying and corruption in the voting delegates before, i can find few other reasons why Qatar should have been given the biggest sporting event on the planet.

    1. Sorry BA, but have you read any of the previous comments? I’m not sure that pulling together some random bits of biased and incomplete info counts as a counter-argument. This definitely feels like a bit more of the ‘holier than thou’ approach. (Please correct me if I’m wrong)

      I’ll just reply briefly to the few points you mentioned above:

      1- ‘Women facing discrimination and violence’: I don’t see much of a factual argument in that claim. For all I know, they could be referring to spousal abuse? Rape cases? There really isn’t much in that statement that would distinguish Qatar from other nations. And in that regard, you might as well attack Russia and other countries where sometimes conditions are harsh and sex trafficking thrives.

      2- ‘arbitrarily deprived of their nationality’: I’m not sure I get what you mean by that. I have an idea of what it ‘could’ mean (since I actually live in the region), but if you can clarify I’d appreciate it… (my guess is it’s a non-government matter)

      3- ’40-100 lashes’: Interesting you bring this up. If you’re concerned about it being for ‘sex’ and ‘alcohol’ then you should know that these things only happen in some extreme cases where a ‘law’ (it doesn’t really matter whether or not we agree with said law if we know about it in advance) is broken and there’s usually an ample amount of petulance and idiocy – hence them being highlighted as such. This is in no way ‘common,’ yet it can happen under the implementation of certain laws. Do I think some of the laws are backwards? Of course. But, people do get caught drunk or engaged in illicit acts A LOT more than 18 times a year. Most are given a slap on the wrist and stern warning, those that get punished did something seriously stupid.

      If it’s the ‘lashes’ that worry you then, I really don’t see your point at all with this one. Unless you honestly believe that brandishing harsh physical punishment is only a problem when carried out ‘within country borders’ as opposed to, say, on a military outpost somewhere (think Gitmo – and the many others).

      4- ‘Freedom of the press’: Well, again, including this simply suggests that the WC shouldn’t have been held in many, many countries in the past. The problem here is that Amnesty int. is making a purely idealogical argument, one which very few countries can win (and those that do, are extremely skilled at hiding the truth and media manipulation).

      The fact of the matter is, every government filters certain material/topics (think Wikileaks). That doesn’t mean that the information isn’t available elsewhere. It also doesn’t mean that these subjects aren’t discussed in various social circles. It simply means that the country is careful about what it portrays to the people about itself and does it more explicitly since ownership of the media arms is either by members of the royal family or those with close ties to it.

      5- ‘Right to freedom of opinion and expression’: Not really much to say here except that the only thing being referred to is probably the low tolerance of the government for disrespectful/disreputable banter regarding the royal family/government. Fair enough, but it doesn’t make much sense to do so when you’re pretty much biting the hand that feeds you. Keep in mind that you’re talking about a country with a majority expat population that’s only there to make money and go home eventually – so from that perspective, whoever doesn’t like it, can leave – or join a global news agency (i guess). The Qatari’s themselves are steeped in traditions of respecting their royal family, etc.

      6- ‘Homosexuality is illegal’ – Please read my long-ass post above. I couldn’t care less what a gay right activist has to say, when it’s all hearsay.


      Qatar, like its surrounding countries is just over 30 years old. Now if you take a second to imagine what that means, you would be surprised. Can you imagine that some of the rulers/sheikhs/emirs etc were around when the region was tribal, with zero infrastructure? And when I say ‘tribal,’ I hope you imagine the classic tribal rule where there’s a single leader, some tribal laws, and a desert.

      Change takes time, it takes generations, and from where I stand, I say they’ve done a hell of a job so far. So please, I urge you to place things into context. All I’m doing is trying to shed a light on things that are more often mis-portrayed than not. (I wasn’t even ‘that’ excited about Qatar winning, I just don’t enjoy hollow arguments and stereotyping – even if it is from ‘the guardian’)

  24. This blog just got very ugly very fast. Some of the ignorance on display here is shocking. I think a lot of you should stick to football…

    Also, what the hell does Qatars relationship with Israel have to do with this? Qatar/Israeli relations are strained because Israel is oppressing and occupying millions of people. Amnesty International have more than a few reports on Israel and its’ activities. If there is no diplomatic relations between the two countries it is as a result of that and not some ignorant preconception that they are racist.. In any case, not sure why that should have any effect whatsoever on Qatars bid for the WC which is a sporting issue and not a political one.

    1. you call out people for being ignorant, yet you have no trouble writing such a simplistic, blunt statements as “Israel is oppressing and occupying millions of people”? you think Qatar/Iran/Lebanon/Syria/etc don’t have relations with Israel because of human rights concerns?

    2. Its simplistic and blunt because its true – *http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/israel/occupied-palestinian-territories/page.do?id=1011175

      People critisize Qatar for having a poor human rights record and then in the same breath also critisize them for not having relations with Israel, when Israel has one of the worst human rights records on the planet. Things like denying the average Palestinian simple needs like water and carrying out one of the worst occupations in modern history spanning over 50 years. Is that not ignorance?

    3. I know. That’s why I already expected this when I heard that Qatar won the 2022 bid.
      Football should not mix with political activities.
      It can really get ugly. Especially if Israel’s name is brought up.

      That said, I like to read other people’s opinion though even though they’re wrong.

    4. It’s not so bad, although it’s important that we be respectful to each other here, and choose our words a little more carefully.

      It’s not often evident from our typical discussion, but we are a very diverse bunch here in BFB (pronounced Buphbeh). It’s actually one of the best things about this place. That and the personal respect we show each other. Let’s keep that up.

      The discussion hasn’t been bad, or “ugly”. In fact, I think the fact that we actually get along has made this one of the most civil discussions on this subject I’ve read, jajaja. Then again, when you’re comparing to ESPNsoccernet and BigSoccer, the bar isn’t very high 😛

    5. ^ His above comment on the technical failures of the Qatar bid is one everyone should read. Because 1) Jose’s obviously been following the bids; 2) had done his research (i.e. knows what the hell he’s talking about); and 3) presents his evidence in an eloquent manner.

      This shouldn’t be an attack on any country. Be it Israel or Qatar or any other country you care to mention. That’s what, essentially, is being avoided. We have readers from around the world; Israel, Saudi Arabia, US, Japan, Croatia, Australia, Chile… Why? Because we all support Barca!

      I don’t really give a damn where people come from, what they believe in, or who they associate with. They can be Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist etc. Here, we’re all equal. We all love Barca. Therefore, like Jose said, the only thing we need to do is be respectful of each other.

      Politics should just stay out of it. >:|

    6. Agreed. Of all the posts Jose’s was the most worth reading. Luke’s most worth ignoring.

      This really is turning into Soccernet.

      Lets all discuss my FM Save. Guys, Eden Hazard was transfer listed for 10 mil! Do I bite?

    7. BTW, I went to the board and asked them for like more of the profit to be put towards transfers and last season I got 150 million euros to spend. 😀

      Puyol and Xavi are player/coaches for me right now. Bojan, Botia, Fontas are fully members of the Spanish NT. Next, I’m trying to get Del Bosque to call up Thiago.

  25. I’d like to be Hectored with a preview, a SoMa classic, anything BARCA related…

    We might need another one of these from Messi to win it.


    1. What ever happened to that GOLTV commentator at the beginning of the video??? Always liked him when he did our games in the 08/09 games

    2. I’m with you Kari – let’s move on.. please!

      I can’t stop myself from replying. I tried. But just couldn’t.

      Need me some Barca – fast!

    3. I screamed when Messi scored that. I wanted him to “shh” the crowd so bad because they were so unreasonable that whole match.

  26. People, at the crux of it all is money. For me, this is absolutely no different than Formula One. They approach a city or country and say “Are you interested in hosting a race?” Entity says “Yes,” then Bernie Ecclestone says “Here’s the price. You pay us, then get lost.” And people do. The new Grands Prix that have been added have one thing in common: fiscal dictatorships.

    Likewise, when you look at Qatar and Russia and their World Cup bids, the quality of the presentations, or who was giving them, matters not a whit. The committee was looking, simply enough, at how likely is this thing to go off without any hitches at all. Qatar and Russia are fiscal dictatorships. People decide it is going to happen and it does. No messing about, no public funding, a relatively compliant press and scads of wealthy folks willing to facilitate.

    A fiscal dictatorship is what you need in a country where there is absolutely no footballing infrastructure. That way stadiums get built with a minimum of hassle, and everything works the way the people in charge say it’s supposed to. And it all happens.

    There are viable, and justified concerns with the Brazil WC. Yes, they have stadiums galore, but the socioeconomic infrastructure necessary to host such an event is sorely lacking. It will be a very complex tournament that will go off, but not without many a hitch. In Qatar and Russia, there will be no such hitches.

    –As for the debate, this has been relatively civilized, so I haven’t really chosen to moderate. When discussing politics and life as we know it, respect is absolutely essential. So even if you don’t agree with someone’s viewpoint, you have the respect for that person to be able to see their point of view, even if you don’t agree with it.

    Every nation and every people think that their system is best. It’s the root of xenophobia. It doesn’t matter who you are. Qatar has its own rules, customs, laws and system of government. So does Russia. The key is adaaptability and again, as with F1 and its traveling road show that adapts to host nations while also forcing them to adapt, so it will be with the World Cup in Russia and Qatar.

    –Another overriding consideration is whether sporting concerns should be predominant, or whether human rights should take a front seat. When China got the Olympic Games, we really saw that debate rage, but the fact of the matter is that the Games went off, and went off beautifully.

    Should politics be part of sport? Ask athletes who were deprived of the chance to represent their countries when the U.S., and then Russia boycotted the Olympic Games. Most Olympic athletes train for entire lives for one, maybe two shots. For them, it isn’t about politics. Sport is supposed to transcend, bond and render all those sorts of things secondary, at least for as long as the event is going on.

    And if we chose to have sporting events in countries squeaky clean as far as human rights are concerned, there wouldn’t be very many places where any games could be held. America has its own socioeconomic and ethnicity-based oppression that, while not as overt as it is in other nations, is every bit as debilitating. Every resident of almost every nation could, when they look at their nation through unvarnished eyes, point to social complexities that someone from the outside could look at and say “See? You are no better than us.”

    And that’s where agreeing to disagree comes into play.

    1. Thank you for that! Now what was that thing we were talking about before this mess? Oh yeah barca!

    2. Well put, Kxev. I’d just like to add to it as someone who grew up in Qatar and still calls Doha home (I’m here right now! Although just for the week, and got to celebrate the bid win).

      The ruling family in Qatar are some of the most progressive people in this neighbourhood, I know this for a fact. Sheikh Hamad and Sheikha Mozah have pushed for a lot of change, and having succeeded some, they’ve also got plenty pushback from the other families and tribes, which is why change can often be slow to happen here.

      I too was cynical about the bid, but now that we’ve got it, I’d like to just add this point into the mix: The amount of international scrutiny Qatar is going to get over the next 12 years, from the sour-grapes commentators in the losing countries to well thought-out critiques from journalists who know what they’re doing, is going to FORCE us to get better with our human rights issues and any other things that might not be acceptable elsewhere.

      While it’s just going to make things more expensive and crowded in the country (I was here for the Asian Games in 2006, and no one even pays attention to those. Doha still felt like a 3-week long traffic jam), I think it’s bound to foster change and improvement in the country that conservatives won’t be able to block, because Qatar cannot fail in the eyes of the world.

      There might be more deserving countries, but, honestly (and this is the view of many Qataris I’ve spoken to), the World Cup could help this country as much as Qatar’s money can make for an awesome World Cup.

      Plus, for selfish reasons I’m going to be able to attend World Cup games in my home town. That’s simply awesome. Messi at 35? It can happen.

    1. Don’t they have 25 players registered already?
      That’d mean selling/de-registering some players before buying any!

  27. I wonder how much Pep got from Qatar as he was one of the ambassadors who pushed for the WC bid. Or it could be in incentives as cash would be seem too …(I cant find the right word for it)

    1. Who the hell has been using my nick?
      Maybe I should change my name to barca96 legit(taken from K)

  28. For people who wanted to download this vid *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvBcF0Sml7Q&feature=player_embedded in HD, here are some links.


    Thanks to Dennis_Compton at fbtz.com

  29. Messi BEFORE he really became amazing in 2008/09 and became ridiculous in 2009/10 and became demi-godly in 2010/11


    I sincerely enjoyed that video.

    And something one of the comments here posted up in a much earlier post from the Hercules game but I enjoyed it so much that I’m reposting it:

    I laughed so hard at that. Poor Drenthe.

    And- something that many people will still find sacrilegous on everywhere from Soccernet and Goal to on the street- but I say Messi is better now than Ronaldinho in his prime was. Ronaldinho had the most insane tricks and skills yes, and he was a joy to watch in a way that maybe no other footballer I know was, even my mom who doesn’t know anything about football or watch it at all saw him in a game recently and became a huge fan (of his, not of watching or following football) but still a fan enough to want to watch the World Cup until she found out he didn’t make the team.

    But Messi is just out of this world now. He’s scoring goals at an insane rate of around a goal a game for one and a half seasons now which is enough for it to not be a fluke, with 15+ assists a season, his through-passes and passing, dribbling, playmaking, vision, intelligence, everything is just breathtaking these days. Especially when he goes on ‘scary mode’ with his serious face like he was in the Real Madrid game. It’s like he has the creative abilities of a top top attacking midfielder or playmaker, dribbling skills better than any winger, the best finishing in the world. I’m not speaking from the videos, but from his recent games over this and last season. The guy is just amazing. Strength, work-rate, short passing, through balls, assists, creativity, dribbling, finishing, tricks (I have seen him do an elastico and step-overs a couple times too, among the flashier stuff, and quite a few other ‘tricks’ as well), vision, intelligence, defensive hustling, shooting, running with the ball, just wow, what an amazing player. I think he can be one of the best ever as a forward, as a right-forward, as a Maradona-style attacking midfielder, as a goalscorer, as an Iniesta-style midfielder, in so many roles, he’s just amazing, I never even expected him to be THIS good when I saw him back when he was 19 or so and a first-teamer.

    1. Not saying Ronaldinho wasn’t amazing, or that he was all about tricks and skills, I recognize his playmaking and passing abilities as well, and he was the creator for almost everything Milan did last season with some beautiful passing. I still place Ronaldinho at his peak among the all-time greats, but Messi has gotten even better imo. He could be remembered as a goalscoring legend a la Pele as well as a creative legend a la Maradona if he keeps this up.

  30. Obviously money rules the world. Russia are gonna invest 50 billion (and another 30 into Olympics). Huge investments are no problem for Qatar either. Did you see the other bidders committing to that?

  31. with all due respect to luke,please post something after researching,not because u are xenophobic to the arabs or muslims or a small country or any other things.learn form jose

    @jose.thanks for citing the technical criteria 2 host a WC.now if u luke posted this on regard of this,then it was totally acceptable.

    @outespacedout.ur political situation is just like me(living in bangladesh)

    1. Bangladesh’s situation is not like Maldives’. I’d say we have mild political rivalry comparing to outerspacedout’s. It rarely affects family relationships or food/dress color. I suppose our situation will even get better with better education over time.

  32. I’m glad Russia and Qatar got the bids.

    I believe the Arabic region really deserves it. People should really be carefull what they say about countries and regions they know little of. And any countries relations with Israel are far from being a good standard to measure weather they should host the WC or not. I wonder if people would have the same human rights vialotians againts the USA, UK, or Israel who are currently occupying other countries (this is also an issue I would have againts Russia if they continued in their problems with Georgia).

    I don’t believe any country currently waging War or an occupation upon other countries or peoples should have the WC untill those issues are done and over with.

  33. human rights.just four words”life is not fair”.

    did any body here shed light on IRAQ situation?no.why?cause this is a football blog,not a political one.so when someone like luke posted this against qatar without citing any footballing reasons,it has become a political comment section.luke reminded me of TiAGOSONG @the guardian.

    p.s.i dont like homosexuality.why?i dont know.does it make me a bad muslim or person ?what do u say especially luke.

    its nice 2 c when somebody accuses qatar of bribing without any evidence?isnt that unethical?

    BTB,barca is gonna win in OSASUNA.0-3.

    messi 26
    pedro 51
    pique 81

  34. there is only one diego.

    and its not better 2 judge players from different era.still if anybody asked me whom i should chose from messi and maradona?(both of them @their peak)my answer is always be diego (until now).

    messis free kicks need quite improvement,his playmaking skills are flourishing.but he is only 23.compare him with diego after he retires.

  35. Pep please rest Messi!
    And Puyol and Alves too.
    They deserve a rest.

    Man City is making an offer of 50mill POUNDS for Alves. I’m sure that’s too good of an offer but please don’t accept it.
    This is totally different to the situation with Ronaldinho. I wasn’t entirely happy that we rejected a $100mil bid for him.

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