What would USA 2022, the World Cup that never was, have been like?

Planet Business: Britain’s ‘Kormageddon’, the latest ‘30 under 30′ list and a possible sequel to The Big Short

Image of the week: USA 2022

Reaching the knockout stages of Qatar 2022 has re-instilled a perhaps time-limited sense of confidence among fans of the USA men’s football/soccer team who play the Netherlands in the last 16 in Doha today. But what if this was a home game?

The US was, after all, judged by many — not just themselves — to have submitted the best bid for the 2022 event, with then president Barack Obama expectantly in attendance at the fateful Fifa Congress at which Qatar was revealed as hosts. In our alternative timeline, USA 2022 would already be a distant memory, having taken place in the summer like a normal tournament. The Budweiser would have flowed without complication and sponsors, generally, would have been happier. So, too, would have been anyone with even a passing concern about human rights.

The economic what-ifs are murky. While USA 1994 was projected to generate a $4 billion (€3.8 billion) bonanza, host cities were later estimated to have lost a collective $9 billion. Still, the profile of football — sorry, soccer — in the US has exploded since, while the 18 proposed host cities would have come with readymade capacity for fans.

The US won’t have long to wait. In 2026, it will have the lion’s share of matches in its three-way hosting arrangement with Canada and Mexico. Indeed, with Fifa expanding the format from 32 to 48 teams, it will only host four fewer games than Qatar. Altogether now: U-S-A! U-S-A!


In numbers: Kormageddon


Percentage of Indian restaurants in the UK that have shut down since 2007, according to Jeffrey Ali, director of the British Curry Awards — a closure rate dubbed “kormageddon” in a front-page Sunday People splash.


Remaining curry houses now battling sharp increases in input costs such as onions, tomatoes, spices, cooking oil and energy.


Projected average cost (€19.60) of a chicken tikka masala, up from £7, if restaurateurs were to put up their prices to reflect the impact of inflation on their business, according to a new “Onion Bhaji Index”.

Getting to know: Michael Burry

Known to readers of Michael Lewis’s book The Big Short and indeed viewers of the Adam McKay adaptation in which he was portrayed by Christian Bale, Michael Burry is the neurologist turned hedge-fund manager who became one of the first investors to spot the burgeoning sub-prime mortgage crisis and then profit from betting against the still bubbly market. More recently, Burry has been tweeting and deleting downbeat forecasts about “the mother of all crashes” ensnaring Wall Street as well as — this week — the likelihood of the US economy plummeting into “an extended multi-year recession”.

The assessment is a gloomy one from the perspective of most people, at least. “You have no idea how short I am,” was another recent tweet, confirming the truth that no matter how bad things seem, some people will always find a way to make money out of it. Time to check Bale’s availability for The Big Short 2?

The list: Young and successful

The publication of Forbes magazine’s latest 30 under 30 list for north America comes with two caveats. It actually stretches to 600 people, as it covers “rising stars” across multiple sectors, while last year’s selection featured the increasingly notorious crypto fool Sam Bankman-Fried. Still, who makes an appearance this time?

  1. Ayo Edebiri: Viewers of FX drama series The Bear on Disney+ will know Edebiri as the scene-stealing actor who plays young sous chef Sydney. She’s also a comedian, writer and producer.
  2. Hailey Bieber: The model, influencer, classically trained ballet dancer and wife of popstar Justin Bieber now has her own skincare start-up, Rhode Skin, selling something called a peptide glazing fluid that’s apparently very popular.
  3. Jeremy Schiel: Orbit Fab, the aerospace start-up co-founded by Schiel, plans to build “celestial gas stations” so satellites can top-up on hydrazine fuel, a highly toxic propellant.
  4. Steven Vasilev: Hear me out … shoes, but they only exist digitally. Vasilev is the co-founder of RTFKT (pronounced artifact), which creates non-fungible token sneakers for the metaverse. The company was acquired by Nike last December.
  5. Bunim Laskin: As the co-founder of Swimply, Laskin has been busy raising finance for a platform that allows people to rent private pools in the US, Canada and Australia by the hour. Now we’re talking.