By Jesse Fink
You couldn't make it up.
The presidential election for the AFC throws up a Bahraini with an association to the crushing of democracy protests in the kingdom, a Thai who was investigated by FIFA's ethics committee for alleged violations of the Code of Ethics and an Emirati who suggests Qatar should shift the 2022 event from summer to winter, contravening the terms of engagement of the entire World Cup bidding process. That a fourth, the Saudi Hafez Al Medlej, has seemingly withdrawn from the race could be seen as a small mercy.
Get it over and done with.
Really? Is this a comedy? This is the best the AFC, a confederation of 46 nations taking in the biggest football market on earth, can do?
Back to Al Serkal. He's the same guy who said earlier this month that Michel Platini's idea of having the 2022 event shared among Middle East nations and not solely hosted by Qatar was "a crazy idea" and could not happen because "the FIFA executive committee has already taken a decision and awarded the 2022 World Cup to the Qataris".
But seemingly in his view it's okay to transfer the World Cup to winter.
"Major clubs from Europe and also major football federations should seek with FIFA to move this competition from the summer. I think the decision should be taken now. Players will not perform at the best level."
Still doesn't change the fact the moment such a decision is made it gives the United States and Australia a legitimate reason to mount court action and have Qatar stripped of the World Cup altogether.
This is because Clause 1.2 of the Bid Registration documents says in plain English: "The final competitions of the FIFA World Cup which are scheduled to take place as follows the 21st edition in June and/or July of 2018 and the 22nd edition in June and/or July of 2022."
They were the rules. Every bidder agreed to them. But, according to Al Serkal, no matter.
"It's not only for the success of the competition but also for the health of the participants. And what about the fans?"
Well, what about the fans?
They haven't mattered at all in any of the shady horse-trading that went on during the World Cup bidding process and they didn't factor in FIFA's estimations when they made the harebrained decision to award the World Cup to Qatar in the first place over the United States.
This farce is on Qatar's heads. It's on FIFA's heads. It's up to them to deliver what they promised. Or else fulfil the spirit of Al Serkal's comments to the full and give the World Cup to the Americans for the "success of the competition", "the health of the participants" and the welfare of those forgotten "fans".
A compromised Qatar 2022, one that does not bear any relation to the slick video presentations and those huge air-conditioned stadiums, should not be tolerated under any circumstances.
If the Qataris cannot come good on what they said they would do, give the 2022 World Cup to the country that should have won it all along based on merit and not science fiction: the United States.
And Asian football can use the intervening period to come up with getting its own house in order before ever bidding for a World Cup again