Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Qatar could be end of World Cup as we know it

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 02: FIFA President Joseph S Blatter names Qatar as the winning hosts of 2022 duirng the FIFA World Cup 2018 & 2022 Host Countries Announcement at the Messe Conference Centre on December 2, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

No Fifa World Cup in Qatar in 2022, summer or winter. Instead a Uefa Cup of Nations, staged in more temperate climes, featuring the might of Europe against Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Japan, South Africa and the USA.

A fanciful notion, or the very real outcome of a power struggle at the top of the global game?

Students of football politics would not wager against the latter with the crazy decision to stage a World Cup in the lethal desert heat becoming the battleground in a growing conflict between Fifa and Uefa and their respective heads, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini.

Out of favour with Blatter and no longer his chosen successor, Platini may yet assume control of world football through his Uefa think-tank's radical plan to extend not just the Champions League, but the European Championships, worldwide.

Euro scepticism over Qatar offers them their breakway opportunity.

Were Platini to lead his big box office Uefa nations into giving future World Cups a bye-ball, and the likes of Brazil and co were to follow the money, what would Fifa be left with? How much would TV pay to show New Zealand v Algeria in the final?

Fifa and Blatter may wield the political power, Platini and Uefa, quite literally, hold the football aces.

One way or another, Qatar is beginning to look like the desert Fifa will fry in... the end of Blatter and the World Cup as we know it and the accession of Platini and his Uefa Cup of Nations?

Unthinkable? Not nearly as much as a football man in charge of football.

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