January 2011 issue

New Year, new start and all that. So, my new year’s resolutions are not holding up that well – the massive sort out of my office and desk and the ‘keeping it all organised’ for 2011 has already fallen by the wayside, I’m no thinner or fitter, and the number of wine bottles in the recycling bin hasn’t got any less. I’ve balloted the office though, and realised that I’m not the only one with wildly optimistic expectations!

So, hmm, congratulations to Russia for the 2018 world cup, and surprisingly (to say the least) Qatar for 2022 competition. But what of FIFA’s famed ‘legacy’? I’m sure the construction of a dozen or so stadia will provide thousands of construction jobs, but I can’t see how they can be re-used to any community benefit afterwards. Qatar is 11,437km² (for comparison, Wales is 20,779 km²) and has a population of 800,000, of which 90% live in the capital Doha, leaving a heck of a lot of possibly under-utilised stadia dotted around the country afterwards! A lot of British top-flight clubs can accommodate 40,000 fans (and a World Cup stadium would need to do this) – ten of these would mean that at any given time 50% of Qatar’s population could be at the football! Sustainable? This is like south Wales (south Wales, not even all of Wales) getting the world cup, and although I’m slightly biased towards this country, I think that building twelve world-class football stadia in south Wales wouldn’t be the best of ideas - and don’t get me started on hotel room provision, a point on which FIFA express doubt with our bid…!

Our Olympic preparations will be getting well underway this year though, and I think that’s going to give us a really good chance to show the world what a great constructive nation we are.

Wishing you a very happy 2011.

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