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Can we play?

Can we play?

Qatar has a shiny new toy, and the UAE would like to play with it. Just for a few minutes.

December 21, 2010 3:49 by



Do you remember when you were a kid, and your friend would arrive at school with a really cool new toy? At first you would be jealous, even a little bitter, but as you look at that awesome toy an idea dawns on you – if you make nice you might get to play with it for a bit, then some of its specialness might rub off on you.

These junior school flashbacks were prompted when Kipp saw an article in Emirates 24-7 proclaiming that the UAE was “ready” to host some World Cup matches. But only if Qatar wants us to, you understand.

“UAE will provide all help to Qatar in organising the World Cup. We are always willing to cooperate and even ready to host some matches if they request,” said Yousef Mohammed Abdullah, general secretary of the UAE Football Association. “Since our neighbour Qatar was chosen to host the World Cup, we feel UAE will also be a part of the event even though we are not hosting it,” said Abdullah.

“It is only 400km by road to Doha (Qatar’s capital) from here. Once they build the bridge (UAE-Qatar causeway), it will be like travelling from Abu Dhabi to Sharjah. Anyway travelling distances are short unlike in South Africa (during 2010 Fifa World Cup) where it was 1,000km from Cape Town to Johannesburg.”

“And also, Qatar can have a go with our Blue Power Ranger if it lets us join in,” he sadly didn’t add.

Kipp is being a bit unfair. Abdullah was no doubt asked some leading questions, but he made sure to qualify his statements when he said, “It makes us also feel happy that the World Cup is coming to Middle East for the first time. We want to do everything possible to help them organize it. But Fifa has awarded it to Qatar because they know they can do a very good job.” There certainly hasn’t been any bitterness; the gist of the message seems to be, we’d love to help out, but it’s yours to play with and we’re pleased for you.

When you think about it, it really is a bit like school. If it is a really good friend with the new toy, you are genuinely happy for them. That doesn’t prevent the odd pang of jealousy, but it makes the whole thing much more bearable.



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