Former FA chairman Greg Dyke rejects ‘ridiculous’ and ‘misplaced’ decision to award the World Cup to Qatar

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England finally has a ball to head for Qatar after more than a decade of scandals and controversies and, according to a digital clock on a wall in St George’s Park, with a further 604 days to the World Cup final.

The bidding process and the vote exposed FIFA’s corruption house. A multi-billion pound construction project exposed shocking abuse of migrant workers in the Gulf state. Qatari’s civil rights still cause serious concern and yet we are getting closer to a World Cup like no other.

Sixty-four matches at eight nearby locations over 28 days in the midst of the European football season, with proposals to house fans on offshore cruise ships and desert campsites.

Ex-FA chief Greg Dyke has reflected on ‘ridiculous’ decision to give Qatar the World Cup

The bidding process and voting for the 2022 tournament exposed FIFA's corruption house

The bidding process and voting for the 2022 tournament exposed FIFA’s corruption house

This is the tournament England was targeted by Greg Dyke to win when he was FA chairman in 2013 and as Gareth Southgate’s team launch a qualifying campaign against San Marino on Thursday, it no longer feels so far-fetched.

“It was the most ridiculous decision ever made to place it in Qatar,” says Dyke Sportsmail‘It was so crooked; no one in their right mind would have chosen it, boiling hot without football tradition.

‘But organizations work with ambition. We all agreed we needed a target. We had to say we would win it and I think we could win it. Nobody thought last time that we would make it to the semi-finals and that we can continue.

“You need luck, but you see the kids who won the Under 17 World Cup, like Phil Foden, and we have a good chance of winning.”

Dyke believes the decision was 'crooked' due to Qatar's inability to host football

Dyke believes the decision was ‘crooked’ due to Qatar’s inability to host football

Dyke’s calls for the introduction of quotas and B-teams went badly, as did his abrasive style at times, but he managed to spark a debate over a shortage of top-level English talent.

The Premier League already rolled out the Elite Player Performance Plan, the FA hatched their ‘DNA’ coaching project, and the National Football Center at St George’s Park was finally open, putting national teams of all ages at the center.

“We really tweaked the Spanish system,” says Dyke. “ We were over there and saw under-18s and under-21s and the senior team all having breakfast together, while people who run it didn’t talk to each other half the time. ”

It was Dave Reddin, recruited from the British Olympic Association as head of the FA’s performance services, who set the countdown clock in St George’s Park ticking towards Qatar 2022.

He still believes England can win the 2022 tournament as they prepare for the qualifiers

He still believes England can win the 2022 tournament as they prepare for the qualifiers

Greg Clarke called it ‘idiot’ when he replaced Dyke in 2016, although not only does it stay in place, but now there are more bells counting down to different tournaments.

When FIFA agreed too late that the average summer temperatures of 41 ° C were too high for football, the countdown in Qatar was adjusted. Next year’s World Cup final kicks off at 10:00 am on a Monday in the UK on November 21, with the final on December 18, Qatar’s national holiday.

The governing bodies and leagues have yet to reveal how they plan to cope, but this wipes out the part of the season from the usual November international break to Christmas.

Those dates accounted for more than 250 Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, Championship and Carabao Cup games this season – not a normal season due to last year’s lockdown.

Dyke was responsible for installing a countdown clock to Qatar in an effort to boost motivation

Dyke was responsible for installing a countdown clock to Qatar in an effort to boost motivation

Clubs want clarity from FIFA on the international breaks in August, September and October. It would make sense to remove them as long as the national teams have some preparation time for the final. It promises more chaos for the game planners and can force lasting changes to the football calendar.

For England, however, there are reasons to suspect that the stars are aligned. What seemed laughable at the moment Dyke shot the moon seems perfectly plausible once the qualifiers begin.

November takes away the perennial problem of fatigue at the end of a troubled English season, accused by both Sven Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello of failures at major tournaments. Heat and humidity with the sun set in Qatar in winter will be nothing like the World Cup in Germany in 2006 or Brazil in 2014, where England played Italy in Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

There are also positives when it comes to logistics compared to the vast host countries Russia and Brazil.

The stars seem to be on par with England, ahead of Qatar, with a herd of top talent emerging

The stars seem to be on par with England, ahead of Qatar, with a herd of top talent emerging

“For players it will be as good as anything they have experienced,” predicts Adrian Bevington, former director of the English teams. “Normally you would spend a lot of time traveling, switching hotels, but this is a small geographic area and the facilities – training camps, hotels and stadiums – will be first-class.”

Above all, there has been the emergence of this generation of talent immersed in the English system and led by Southgate, a coach who relies on the youth and accidentally ended up on the job at perhaps another accidental time.

He inherits the 2017 Under 17 and Under 20 World Cup winners, has the experience of Russia 2018 and the postponed Euro 2020, most of which are played on home soil and rolls straight into the World Cup.

Winning in Qatar is, of course, another thing, but when Dyke set the clock, few predicted England would have enough talent left to drop players of the quality of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Winks and Dele Alli by the time a ball turned out. stepped.