It’s a topic that has hit the headlines in the last week or so since FIFA’s corruption report was published, but it is something which I think is an absurd idea.
Former FA chairmen Lord David Triesman and David Bernstein have both said a boycott of the next World Cup in order to force a FIFA reform.
Triesman told Sky Sports News: “David Bernstein has been saying Europe should get its act together and preferably do it together and I think he’s got an extremely strong point and I support it.
“Michel Platini and UEFA should be saying ‘if you want the Europeans involved in this world sport then it’s got to be a clean sport run in a transparent way and to standards that are exacting.
“Russia will of course resist it but the fact of the matter is the most powerful of all the continental football groups is in a position to influence it, as are the major sponsors and I think until FIFA is confronted by that it will never change.”
I don’t want to go into the politics of the arguement, because to be quite honest, I don’t 100% understand it, but what I can put forward is reasons why we should not boycott the Russia World Cup.
Firstly, I cannot even imagine a World Cup without the big European teams. The last three World Cups have been won by teams from this continent, whilst in 2006 and 2010, the runner-up was also a European nation. In the former, all four semi-finalists were.
Who would that leave to win the trophy? Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, maybe Colombia? Suddenly the World Cup becomes basically the Copa America, with perhaps some chance for Asian teams. The tournament would not be competitive and would not represent who the best countries in the world were.
The World Cup is the most watched sporting event on TV. Without the big countries, some people may not tune in, I know I would watch, but certainly not be as interested. This loses money for TV companies worldwide, and sponsors such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds would also miss out on revenue.
Some countries may even decide not to televise the tournament, which would be a major down point for fans.
A boycott would give countries who participated in it a bad name, no matter what they cite as their reasons. At the end of the day, if you don’t compete in the World Cup, what are you going to do for the two years which include the qualifying process? Have no international football? Or just play friendlies, which are already drawing complaints for their pointlessness.
I of course hold no role what so ever in FIFA or any Football Association, but there must be some way to solve the problem without going to the extreme of a boycott. There’s two years until qualifying starts, so in that time somebody must be able to come up with a better solution to make their point clear.
FIFA may well need a shake up, but boycotting the biggest tournament in football is not the way to protest.