Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More problems with FIFA tournaments in Africa

It's a full day here at UF. News is pouring in from all angles, I owe you another horrendous jersey, and there are EPL matches still to come. We are doing our best not to be caught slacking, and appreciate you keeping up.

The next Under 17 World Cup is due to be held this fall in Nigeria. A FIFA delegation, led by beloved (not really) CONCACAF head Jack Warner, recently spent a week in country assessing Nigeria's readiness to host the event. The result: not so good.

2009 is not the first time Nigeria has been chosen to host a Youth World Cup. Back in 1995, they were supposed to host the Under 20 version, but that got pulled because of concerns about medical facilities. Nigeria did host the same tournament four years later, without any apparent hiccups.

Still, FIFA has set a precedent of pulling tournaments if the host nation does not appear ready. Besides Nigeria, China also had a tournament pulled--the 2003 Women's World Cup--because of health concerns associated with the SARS virus. As the NYT Goal blog points out, this report does not bode well for Nigeria.

If the youth tournament is indeed moved, South African officials must get worried. FIFA set up its calendar so that three African nations would host international tournaments in succession, culminating with the 2010 World Cup. If one of these gets pulled because of poor planning and follow through, could South Africa be next? We have already highlighted some of the problems South Africa faces in the final 500 days of preparation to the World Cup. Surely they will redouble their efforts to get everything they can in tip-top shape before the dry run of the Confederations Cup. Which, by the way, kicks off in less than five months. You can place your bets however you like, but I'd take something as low as 10 to 1 that both of these tournaments will be moved.

(Image from FIFA)


The Fan's Attic said...

sounds like "Out of Africa" would be a movie about FIFA's forays into Africa.

Adam said...

I really see no way the World Cup will end up in South Africa, they still have a lot of time, but nothing I've seen has been positive.

Keith said...

"It's Group B action of the 2010 World Cup, coming to you live from scenic Harrison and East Rutherford, New Jersey!"