Op-Ed: Put an asterisk on the Qatar World Cup in 2022
The last time they staged a World Cup, the United Arab Emirates were on the verge of their worst football catastrophe in history before the 2010 tournament. It was also a tournament where one team did not qualify, another finished bottom of their Group Stage, and two finished with no points.
In 2010, as the hosts prepared to face and beat Portugal and the hosts of the 2002 World Cup, the UAE were in a similar position with no World Cup qualification. And it wasn’t like they weren’t in charge of the event either.
The UAE were co-hosting the tournament in 2010 with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates have hosted the event twice at different venues, and in 2002 they were the hosts. So what changed between then and now? Or to put it another way, what’s changed in the UAE’s attitude towards the World Cup since the early 1990’s when it was first scheduled?
In 2010, the Abu Dhabi Stadium was the site for the opening game, and it was also the venue for the semi-final. The stadium was closed for the final against Portugal and the Qatar-Argentina match. The rest of the 2010 tournament was played at the Aspire Academy.
During the course of the tournament, the UAE won their first three games, and they were expected to win to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. However, the team’s lack of leadership and the lack of a suitable stadium for what is, admittedly, one of the world’s biggest events, left the tournament in the same state as the one it was in at the beginning.
In June the UAE’s football federation and football clubs formed a committee to discuss a possible Qatar World Cup. As it was formed, it wasn’t made up of only Emirati players and footballers, and the team was given a chance to make their point of view known. In the end Sheikh Abdullah – the UAE’s top