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International Soccer
Host? Qatar doesn't belong in World Cup

By Brian Westfall, Soccer Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Qatar hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup does not make sense, that's obvious, but the fact that the tiny nation will actually get to play in the tournament is even more upsetting.

FIFA ignored its own inspection committee's "high-risk" rating of Qatar, lured to the Middle East by a desert nation across the Persian Gulf from Iran on the promise of air conditioned outdoor stadiums - nine of which need to be built.

Although oil-rich Qatar will likely package the World Cup brilliantly - one of the new stadiums will be surrounded by water to look like an oasis - money can not produce a winner on the field as easily as it produced a winning bid.

Over the next 12 years, Qatar will likely try to improve its national team but that is not enough time to become competitive in Asia, let alone the remainder of the world.

Qatar has never before qualified for the World Cup and in Asian qualifying for the 2010 tournament, won just a single match while being outscored 14-5. There has not been another host nation as unworthy of having an automatic berth.

The country, ranked one spot behind the Central African Republic and one ahead of Thailand in FIFA's rankings at 113th, will stand alongside 31 other nations in the world's biggest sporting event.

Welcome to Qatar, we're excited to hand the three other countries in our group an easy win. See you again in a few hundred years, unless FIFA decides to hold the tournament here every four years. You never know.

Perhaps Qatar will open its showcase against Brazil, Germany, Spain or another of the sport's giants. The easy prediction would be a three- or four-goal loss and that's being very generous.

If you're Australia or the United States, losing out on hosting the event will be welcomed if you're lucky enough to land in the same group with Qatar. That, of course, is only if Australia and the U.S. qualify (they should).

Perhaps the U.S., which hosted the 1994 World Cup, should be grateful FIFA was not interested in the incredible amount of revenue a tournament in the States would produce. The 1994 event was best-attended and most lucrative in history.

Would the U.S., still trying to level the playing field with the world's best, be able to compete for the sport's most coveted prize in 12 years? I doubt it. So, waiting a few more years to host - six hosts have won - might be good.

Not so for Qatar, which will have the world watching when it displays possibly the worst soccer the event will ever produce. Just this year, South Africa was the first host nation that failed to advance in the World Cup.

With five-time champion Brazil hosting in 2014 and Russia announced as host in 2018 on Thursday, it's a safe bet the next host to vanish before knockout play will be Qatar.

Comments? Criticism? Applause?
Contact Brian Westfall at bwestfall@sportsnetwork.com.

Follow Brian Westfall on Twitter and Facebook.

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