First things first. Let’s hope that our local venues throughout Pattaya get some respite from the very difficult times they have endured over the last two years and the community can go out and view their chosen sporting event with some food, drink and in an atmosphere that always adds so much to whatever you are watching at the time.

Hopefully we should have a full calendar this year with no further cancellations that have plagued event organisers over the last two years. In fact if everything goes ahead as planned we will have a year filled with major international events the like of which we haven’t seen for some time.

Along with the annual events that we are used to seeing we have the unique prospect of a winter Olympics, a golf Ryder Cup and a football World Cup all being staged in the same year. The winter Olympics will be already be under way by the time you read this but the Ryder Cup, on a mission to get the schedule back on track, is staging the European home competition in Rome at the end of September. All golf fans will remember the drubbing that team Europe suffered at the hands of team US last year at Whistling Straights and the prospects of Europe exacting their revenge in Rome looks like a daunting task, given the strength and young age of the team from the USA.

Of course the biggest sporting event of the year is the FIFA World Cup, being staged, controversially, in November and December of the year. This is ostensibly for two reasons, to allow the Qatar authorities to build and ready the stadiums and the temperature in the summer, when the event is usually held, can reach up to fifty degrees centigrade, a danger to players and fans alike.

I don’t think anybody who saw the voting procedure that eventually gave Qatar the World Cup this year can not help but have serious misgivings about how that decision was reached and for what reasons. It’s still warm in the winter months in Qatar but with the average temperature ranging from 24 to 29 centigrade in November/December it should be manageable for everyone involved. The disruption that will be felt by the European leagues, especially the Premier League, is another matter altogether. Add to that the ongoing criticism of how the labour brought in to build the stadiums is being treated and we can only imagine that the level of dissenting voices will only increase the closer we get to the event.

I have no doubt that the World Cup will go ahead. Money talks, or shouts in this case and we can look forward to some great football entertainment next winter. With the time difference only four hours for us in Thailand a lot of match times will suit us perfectly too. Stay safe and good luck.


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