Harty on... The 2022 Qatar World Cup

WITH the ongoing debate over the actual timing of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, it almost begs the question, is the tail trying to wag the dog?

Rightly or wrongly, FIFA have chosen Qatar to be the host nation, and, if on medical advice, it deemed better to play the tournament in November and December as is being suggested then that’s what should happen.

Do we have the same issue with our domestic rugby clubs when the global rugby community contest their premier competition the other side of the world when our domestic season is in full flow?

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While the top domestic clubs from the elite European leagues do have a fair bit of clout, they cannot think they can dictate to the FIFA about the timing of the World Cup.

Given that this is the tournament that, according to Greg Dyke, England are going to win, playing in the winter rather than the summer should actually work in our favour.

The players will be fresher than they would be at the end of a long domestic season as is the apparent case at the usual summer tournaments.

As for the timing, with November being a traditionally slow month in the licensing trade in the build-up to Christmas, I would imagine that landlords the length and breadth of the country will be turning cartwheels at the prospect of their pubs awash with live World Cup coverage.

The Premiership along with La Liga and Serie A and the other leagues and clubs kicking up a stink will just have to get on with it.

Domestically, League One and Two will carry on regardless while the two leagues above them have been on about a mid-winter break for years.

While probably not the way they envisaged it, this might be the opportunity to start the season at the end of July and give it go when the World Cup is on.

And, frankly, with no Premier or Championship games being played, that might in turn give the lower reaches of the football pyramid a shot in the arm, possibly at a time when they need it most.

After our own domestic boxing controversy the weekend before last when Scotland’s Ricky Burns retained his world lightweight title amid some truly astounding scoring by at least two of the three judges at ringside in Glasgow, on Saturday night, America proved that when it comes to controversy, they break the mould.

Floyd Mayweather Junior, arguably one of the greatest boxers to ever enter a ring, schooled his young Mexican opponent Saul Alvarez at the MGM Grand Las Vegas and on most observer scorecards won all 12 rounds.

But not quite every observer. One of the judges at Ringside, Mrs C J Ross of the USA, scored the fight, in her opinion, a draw at 114-114.

Thankfully, the other two judges had Mayweather winning by a significant margin. Now regardless of her gender, if that is her perception of the 12, rounds then the sooner she is no longer officiating in world title fights, the better.

A number of years ago I myself courted controversy by telling a female caller to my phone-in show, who, was, frankly, wittering on about nothing, that she would be better off sitting at home knitting, the actions of Mrs Ross in Nevada at the weekend put me in mind of the phrase ‘knit one, pearl one’.