Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Local Means More Than Global

One of the things I have learned by living in San Francisco is that sports is, as Tip O'Neill said politics, local. With the San Francisco Chronicle deteriorating on an almost day-to-day basis, my wife now devotes almost all of her attention to the Sports section; and, since it seems to be the most consistent source of good writing, I cannot say as I blame her. Local teams provide a point of reference for more general news, and local knowledge is what makes reading sports analyses worth reading.

This provides what may be a valuable perspective on the bungled management of the 2022 World Cup, for which Qatar won the hosting rights. After a seemingly endless stream of promises about providing suitable climate control to play soccer in the blazing heat of an Arabian summer, FIFA has now recognized this as an absurdity. Their response has been to reschedule the games during the month of November and December.

This would put the World Cup right in the middle of the season for most of the European leagues. Needless to say, none of them are happy about this. Sadly, their reaction was to petition FIFA for financial compensation for the losses incurred by schedule changes, since this gives the impression that the leagues think that its all about the money. Better they should think about the fans. My guess is that most fans would rather be watching their teams perform locally in November and December, rather than watching the World Cup on television. Indeed, fan loyalty could well increase if the European players all made it a point to prefer their local fans to a global television audience. There is no reason why either fans or players should have to suffer because of FIFA inept failure to make sensibly practical decisions.

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