The Fiver | An excellent opportunity to annoy cricket fans

Click here to have the Fiver sent to your inbox every weekday at 5pm, or if your usual copy has stopped arriving


No matter how titillating they may sound in theory, some ventures just aren't practical. That's what the Fiver realised when we reluctantly abandoned our plans to establish a North Pole nudist camp, and that is what Fifa has been forced to acknowledge since it awarded the 2022 World Cup to a country where summer temperatures soar higher than Howard Marks on a hang-glider.

The Fiver has no problem with the principle of the World Cup being hosted in the Middle East and, if you want to know the truth, isn't particularly bothered about the prospect of it being held in the winter rather than the summer. So what if a shift from the usual season causes European leagues to rearrange some fixtures? A bit of tinkering is hardly beyond them and it offers an excellent opportunity to annoy cricket fans, since domestic fixtures will run into the British summer. However, the thing that gets the Fiver's goat is that Fifa made their decision to award the World Cup to Qatar without even thinking of the consequences – or without telling anyone that they had planned for the consequences. It's as if something made the world governing body's neglect its obligation to be diligent and transparent. Hmmn.

Anyway, following the kerfuffle kicked off by the hosting decision, Fifa agreed to organise vast banquets at which "stakeholders" would gorge on swordfish kebabs and candle-grilled butternut squash as they were "consulted" about whether or not to adjust the timing of the 2022 jamboree. But today Fifa general secretary, Jérôme Valcke, appeared to suggest that Fifa has already made it decision and thus flipped two flabby fingers to "stakeholders".

"The dates of the World Cup will not be in June or July," Valcke announced to France Inter Radio. "I think it will be played between November 15 and January 15 at the latest," he continued, seemingly unveiling the plans for a 2021-22 World Cup. "If you play between November 15 and, let's say, the end of December, it's the time when the weather is the most favourable. You play with a temperature equivalent to that of a rather hot spring in Europe, you play with a temperature of 25C, which is perfect to play football."

Valcke's colleagues almost choked on their wild boar and honeysuckle sauce. "I'm totally, completely shocked," belched Fifa vice-president, Jim Boyce, insisting that his organisation has certainly not gone behind anyone's back. "It absolutely 100% has not been decided as far as the executive committee are concerned," continued Boyce. "It was agreed all the stakeholders should meet, all the stakeholders should have an input and then the decision would be made, and that decision as far as I understand will not be taken until the end of 2014 or the March executive meeting in 2015."

Fifa's press office moved with uncharacteristic speed to downplay its general secretary's comments. It intimated that "the dates of the World Cup will not be in June or July" was Valcke's personal opinion rather than a statement of fact. As such, Valcke's declaration is different to "Fifa are a contemptible shower", which is both The Fiver's personal opinion and a statement of fact.


Follow MBM coverage of Manchester City 3-0 West Ham with Paul Doyle from 7.30pm.


"Being gay is a topic that is 'ignored' in football and not 'a serious topic in the changing room'. Fighting spirit, passion and winning mentality are intrinsically linked, that doesn't fit the cliché: 'Gays are soft'" – Thomas Hitzlsperger announces he is gay.


"While Michael Portillo was congratulating himself on single-handedly building Manchester's tram system by taking a tram from Piccadilly to Oxford Road (it's quicker to walk) on Great Railway Something last night, he put forward the idea that Manchester United have made a more lasting contribution to humanity than Marxism. Apart from the classical grandiosity that makes all right (and left) thinking men and women hate them so much, it got me thinking: does that make David Moyes the new Boris Yeltsin; stumbling around, clueless, an empire collapsing all around him?" – Dan Johnson.

"Re. Yesterday's Fiver: I, for one, am glad that the letters are prizeless once more. The lack of incentives seems to have allowed some of the regulars back in, which is a relief. I was beginning to worry for Paul Jurdeczka's well being." – Nikhil Lalwani.

"When I read, 'Ed Woodward has locked himself in his office' (Tuesday's Fiver), I thought the Fiver was making a very cerebral joke about Manchester United's inability to find an Equalizer. My mistake, as you were" – Brian Saxby.

"Lord Ferg registering himself as a player to solve the midfield problem? It'd be the first thing he's done about the problem in years" – Darren Leathley.

"If the Capital One Cup gave The Fiver and Weird Uncle Fiver an inexplicable burning sensation in the nether regions yesterday when you thought about it, would that make it the Little woods cup?" – Robin Hazlehurst.

• Send your letters to And if you've nothing better to do you can also tweet the Fiver. Today's winner of our prizeless letter o' the day is: Robin Hazlehurst.


We keep trying to point out the utter futility of advertising an online dating service "for interesting people" in the Fiver to the naive folk who run Guardian Soulmates, but they still aren't having any of it. So here you go – sign up here to view profiles of the kind of erudite, sociable and friendly romantics who would never dream of going out with you.


Real Madrid have launched an internal inquiry after winger Angel di María was seen to grab his crotch while being substituted against Celta Vigo. "It was a natural gesture that any man does, and all the more so when he is running," reckoned Di María.

Jay Bothroyd has signed a £5m deal to join Thai side Muangthong United. "It's an unbelievably exciting opportunity," the former QPR and Arsenal man kerchinged.

David Moyes has proved he is the equal of Lord Ferg in at least one department, by blaming the referee for Manchester United's defeat against Sunderland. "We're actually beginning to laugh at them," fumed Moyes, prompting the FA to join the fun. "We are looking into David Moyes' comments to the media," they sniffed.

Erik Lamela's dad has said the misfiring Tottenham forward would be happy to run scurrying back to Italy. "He would go back. But Tottenham will not let him go in January," José Lamela tooted.

Neymar has been withdrawn from Barcelona's squad to face Getafe with dicky-tummy-knack, making it more likely Lionel Messi will make his return from thigh-ouch.

And a Ghanaian prophet, Kweku Mensah Otabil, who says he was previously rewarded with a church for praying for the national side, has been reportedly served with an arrest warrant for asking for a further $20,000 to perform more spiritual services for the Black Stars. "What, police want to arrest me?" he asked. "Ghana Police? I am not bothered at all."


'Der Hammer' never shirked a challenge: Marcus Christenson's Thomas Hitzlsperger profile.

If Lord Ferg is the ghost of Old Trafford, does that make David Moyes Scooby Do, is not quite what Louise Taylor is asking, but whatever.

Moyes memes: Manchester United's chosen one as Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball and more.

Did WWE owner Vince McMahon nearly buy Newcastle? Find out in this week's Knowledge round-up.

Though being a sports fan is, in The Fiver's experience, an enjoyably permanent state of disappointment and cynicism, to others it is apparently a heartwarming occupation. Enjoy their weird tales of finding the joy in football here.


Want your very own copy of our free tea-timely(ish) email sent direct to your inbox? Has your regular copy stopped arriving? Click here to sign up.

THERE'S NOTHING LIKE A GRAND UNVEILING. AND THIS IS NOTHING LIKE A GRAND UNVEILING © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

About the Author

Comments are closed.