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Qatar, FIFA plan to house 12,000 fans on cruise ships at 2022 World Cup

Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter, FIFA president


Man: “Hey, honey, look over there — what’s that?” Quickly flicks cigarette away while wife is looking elsewhere.

The above scene highlights the actions of a husband who’s told his wife he stopped smoking years ago, yet still lights up every day on his way home from the office, yet wasn’t expecting her to be gardening in the front yard when he pulled into the driveway.

[ FOLLOW: All the latest news on WC 2022 ]

Or, in this case, that “husband” is played by FIFA and the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), who, in hopes of distracting soccer fans from the obvious issues of the tiny Middle Eastern country’s 2022 World Cup — you know, corruption, bribery and the deaths of thousands of immigrant workers (slaves, essentially) — announced on Monday they intend to house roughly 12,000 World Cup-goers on cruise ships — alternatively referred to as “floating hotels” — in seven years’ time.

Why are they doing this, other than the obvious distraction from all the negativity surrounding Qatar’s World Cup, you ask? Mostly because FIFA guidelines state that a host country must provide at least 60,000 hotel rooms in the tournament’s various host cities, and since the Qatari government still has to build an entire city that currently does not exist to host the 2022 World Cup, they’re going to have to get creative.

[ MORE: Blatter says Qatar must “do more” to improve working conditions ]

Also, because Qatar hopes to increase its presence within the cruise ship market, so they’re going to build a bunch of fancy cruise ships at some point anyway, so why not use them for the World Cup, which will be played in November and December, because it actually solves a lot of the country’s logistical issues. Sure, they’re dirty, but they’re smart.

From an official QTA statement:

“Over the past few years, QTA established a number of strong relationships with international cruise operators as well as with other specialists involved in the industry.

“This has proved to be of great importance especially that Qatar will be extensively benefiting from cruise ships over the 2022 World Cup, as a means of providing additional accommodation supply for fans and visitors over the period.

“QTA will be contracting a minimum of 6,000 rooms on cruise ships for 2022 tournament.”

In Qatar’s defense, it’s an extremely wise alternative to building the 100,000 hotel rooms the country had originally promised, only to see the majority of them sit empty and forever unused once the World Cup is over. Because, again, it’s Qatar and the country’s entire population is barely 2 million.

[ MORE: Qatar’s population at all-time high, thanks to influx of immigrant workers ]

Also, because fans will only be allowed to drink alcohol in designated areas (Qatar a dry country), housing 12,000 soccer fans on cruise ships is a slick way of circumnavigating a potential issue with one of FIFA’s most prolific sponsors, Budweiser, and fill them up with “the official beer of the World Cup” before making their way onto the mainland, where they’re sure to be perfectly well-behaved after hours of power-drinking — otherwise known as “pre-gaming” — because until they return to the boat, they’ll not be able to drink again.

The 2022 World Cup — Just when you think it can’t get any more ridiculous, just wait, we’ll show you!

You can use that slogan for free, FIFA, but I’m charging you for the next one.

Follow @AndyEdMLS