If there is a Chilean who can speak with authority about the World Cup in Qatar, it is Harold Mayne-Nicholls. The former president of the ANFP was part of the evaluation committee of the World Cup venues and had the chance to see first-hand the plans of the Middle Eastern country to develop the global event. Of course, that job ended up costing him a punishment by FIFA.
He talks about all this in an interview with net goalwhere he also addresses the acid words of Joseph Blatter and the improvements that Qatar has made to be able to host the World Cup that begins on November 20.
The first thing he says in the interview is the media phrase launched by the former FIFA president about the 2022 World Cup.”The election of Qatar was a mistake and I take responsibility because I was the president of FIFA.”, commented yesterday, Thursday, November 8, the Swiss. A statement that the Chilean does not share and questions: “It’s what we call being late in football.”.
In fact, the former vice president of Blanco y Negro delves into that statement, clarifying that he also commented on that, but 12 years ago. “What he says, that the World Cup is for big countries and a lot of other arguments, I said at a press conference when we left Qatar, on September 14, 2010. I ratified it in the report and made it super clear. That in real terms cost me seven years of punishment”, he comments.
A situation that admits today is not such. The work of the Middle Eastern country throughout these years seems to have left behind the original doubts that Mayne-Nicholls had. “Of all the venues that were proposed for the World Cup, Qatar had the fewest positive requirements in 2010. But that is not the situation today. I would dare to say that this will be an exceptional World Cup, although more than one person will not be able to arrive on time for a game. But the World Cup will be spectacular“, Add.
The points to confirm that change are varied. In the conversation he mentions the ability they have to cool the fields despite the high temperatures, having managed to change the date of the World Cup and improvements in logistics.
When asked about the comments he gave in the FIFA report, he gave some of his opinions: “There was the matter of logistics. It is not easy to organize a World Cup in a single city and the only time it happened was in 1930, in Uruguay. And from then on it was always played in many cities. Even the Olympic Games are played in many cities for the same”.
Finally, he also gives an opinion about the impact that this World Cup will have versus his projection of the candidacy that the United States made in its time to also host this planetary event: “In the United States, approximately five million people were going to go to the games, due to the capacity of the stadiums. In Qatar they will not exceed three million viewers. I said that there was a tremendous social benefit, because there were two million more people who could enjoy the World Cup, with the economic consequences that this brings. In that sense, the United States’ candidacy was superior to that of Qatar.”, he concluded.