Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Could they cancel the World Cup due to bird flu?

It seems a leading member of Germany's Green party (which is a much bigger party there then the American version) has suggested the World Cup be scrapped if strains of the deadly bird flu show up in the country.

Although the likelihood of the Cup being cancelled is slim at best, if it did happen, it would not be the first time medical concerns caused major chances to a big FIFA event. In 2003, China gave up the Women's World Cup due to an outbreak of SARS. However, the event not cancelled. Instead, it was quickly moved to the US, who had hosted in 1999.

I think the biggest difference between these two is the type of disease. SARS was spreading in humans whereas the number of human cases of the bird flu is relatively small. Also, the men's version of the Cup is still a much bigger event then the women's, so there is a lot money at stake. I think it would have to get pretty ugly for the event to be moved at this point.

Still, it is something to think about. I can already see the headlines, "Chickens kill the beautiful game."


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