Sunday 19 November 2017

World Cup will never be the same again after FIFA scandal

Vladimir Putin's Russia will host the next World Cup in 2018
Vladimir Putin's Russia will host the next World Cup in 2018

Michael McCarthy

On Saturday afternoon, I found myself drawn in by RTE showing every goal from World Cup 2014. It's hard to believe it was only a year ago. A beautiful month filled with so many memories.

Yet Saturday's nostalgia was as sad as it was enjoyable. Will we ever enjoy a World Cup like that again?

It's not as if we were the biggest fans of FIFA in the first place. There were countless problems with the tournaments in South Africa and Brazil - enough that we must question our part in the worldwide "celebration of football". Even so, for the games, rightly or wrongly, we loved every minute.

After the revelations of the last couple of weeks, though, and even the re-emergence of disturbing details we were already aware of, it's going to be harder to celebrate future World Cups as the magnificent month-long escape they've always been.

How can we give our lives over to a tournament that lines the coffers of such a despicable organisation?

The political regimes of Russia and Qatar should not be ignored for sport. Especially when it's the degenerates who run football who are supporting and empowering these regimes.

Maybe when it all comes around in three years we'll just ignore it all. The shocking division of wealth in South Africa and Brazil didn't deter us. A military junta in Argentina in 1978 was brushed under the carpet for the good of the game. Maybe we'll bite our tongues while Vladimir Putin takes plaudits for giving the World Cup a splendorous home while war is being waged to the west. I hope not, though, and can't help feeling it'll never be the same. There's just a bad taste now.

If RTE show the same highlights show again in a few years, we might be reflecting on a different era, when the World Cup was everything. Because it might not be for much longer.

Irish Independent

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