Last October, when Chicago was the first city to be eliminated from the running for the 2016 Olympics, Americans wondered how the U.S. could fail with the likes of Oprah and the Obamas on their side. Today it was the combined influence of Bill Clinton and Morgan Freeman that came up short. America was again dealt defeat, as Pasadena and its new Rose Bowl lost the bid for the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Leading up to the event, all eyes will be on the oil-rich Middle Eastern country (pop. 1.6 million), with only one major city (Doha), that has promised to spend $4 billion on state-of-the-art climate-controlled stadiums for the event. (The average daytime high in Qatar in June and July exceeds 104 degrees).
There are countless issues to be discussed leading up to the event, not the least of which are the country's stance on homosexuality (illegal), alcohol (public drunkenness and openly displaying alcohol in public are prohibited), Israel (the Jewish state is not recognized), and women (routine and accepted sexual discrimination is the norm). espnW aims to tackle these issues in greater detail going forward, particularly the challenges that may face female spectators, journalists and Qatari locals come 2022.
We also have plenty of time to look at the lighter side of this announcement -- so far the puns are coming fast and furious; I've already spotted mentions of Qatarade and Qatar Hero, no doubt Q-Atari is coming soon. For now, I'll just leave you with some of Twitter's funniest first responses to Qatar's winning bid, as well as the decision to award Russia, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Cup in 2018.
@sportsguy33: Any time you can hold a World Cup in a hot Middle East country that's smaller than Connecticut + has no soccer tradition, you have to do it.
@DaveLozo: Come on. People don't go to Middle East countries on false pretenses strictly because of oil and money. Hey, are we still in Iraq? #WorldCup
@milfordio: Early odds for 2030 World Cup: North Korea 7/1, Somalia 6/1, North Pole 11/1, The Moon 25/1 England 10,000/1
@gilalbertson: Qatar 2022: A World Cup for the whole World* *Women, gays and jews not included.
@TheGoche: Bid cities for Qatar: Doha, N. Doha, S. Doha, E. Doha, W. Doha, Central Doha, S Central Doha, NNW Doha, The Surface of the Sun
@stevelepore: BREAKING NEWS: NHL Awards 2012-2020 Winter Classics to Qatar.
@twolinepass: qatar winning the 2022 world cup i$ ab$o£ut€£¥ a$inin€
@StevePopper: Qatar gets World Cup 2022 - and Oprah of Qatar shouts, "Everyone gets a car."
@celebrityhottub: Wait, is FIFA picking World Cup sites or settings for Call of Duty missions?
@adixon: i thought Qatar was a made up country from 'the west wing'
@5hauser: Sarah Palin is inviting everyone over to watch Russia's 2018 World Cup from her house...
@OntheDLpodcast: My browser just crashed trying to import a photo of Qatar to wordpress. I lost my post. What does that tell you?