Qatar take their place
The England football team has shocked the nation by managing not to qualify for next summer’s world cup in Brazil, despite having already qualified mathematically. It appears that Roy Hodgson, England manager, forgot to include England’s application forms as an attachment in an email to Fifa last year.
Sepp Blatter, president of the International Federation of Association Football (Fifa), announced today that the deadline had passed for amendments to applications, and that since England had technically not applied, they would be unable to take part.
He expressed his regret at the news, “England are a great team, with great players, especially Lampard, Milner and Beckham, but I am sure I am not alone in saying I wish a new and developing footballing nation, the State of Qatar, all the best in their first major tournament.”
Qatar, which hosts the World Cup in 2022, and this summer came second last in its qualifying group above Libya, has recently been under international scrutiny after reports of worker abuse in the construction of football stadiums. In conditions described as “modern day slavery”, hundreds of construction workers have reportedly died. Blatter: “This is not Fifa’s primary responsibility […] we have plenty of time [to sort this out], 2022, it is nine years.”
Captain of the side Steven Gerrard was measured on the subject: “I mean obviously all the lads are disappointed and that but, well you know we’ve got to take the setback as a team, stick behind the manager, keep our heads up and look to Euro 2016 in France.”