Football Dreams… might be a bet hedged against World Cup embarrassment.

Brian K. Blickenstaff, in a report on questioning Qatar’s intentions for Football Dreams, a humanitarian project operated by Aspire Academy that helps poor African prodigies launch careers in professional soccer. 

He writes:

Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and under FIFA rules, the host country’s team automatically qualifies for the tournament. Qatar, whose national team is ranked 88th in the world, has never accomplished this feat on its own.

If the Middle Eastern nation is able to draw players from across Africa, the country’s soccer prospects will immediately improve…

Qatar denies it plans to assimilate Football Dreams’ players into their World Cup team, pointing out how closely it works with the academy players’ respective national football associations.

More than 30 Football Dreams athletes have played for their native youth national teams, and no Football Dreams player has ever represented Qatar. The country, though, has a history of paying athletes in other sports to switch allegiance.

While Qatar has yet to officially buy any footballers, the size and the scope of the Aspire Academy suggests that the down payments have already been made.

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