Predictably unpredictableThe leaves are falling, the nights are cold, it must be time to stand in a beer garden and cheer for the nation.
The world's eyes turn to Qatar for the first World Cup held in the Middle East. Moved from the heat of the summer, there are many unknowns about this competition.Qatar has a population of 2.8m, with a land mass smaller than the Falkland Isles. The tournament will be spread over eight venues, the furthest distance between which is 60km. If you were to drive from one to the other you would pass the other six venues on the way.So far, so atypical - but at least our predictions competition will be familiar. You gain points for the usual ups and the downs of an international tournament.
I had mixed feelings about running this year's contest - the issues with the hosts' records on human rights, stance on same-sex relationships and treatment of migrant workers are well documented.
Identifying our fun contest with the negative coverage of the hosts of the tournament gave me cause to reflect on whether to run our game this year.
I'd like to take the opportunity in a small way to take a stand for fundamental human equality and rights for the whole community.
Please stand with me and support our excellent charity, MindOut, who help young people in the LGBTQ+ community with their mental wellbeing.
Every match counts in our game, and if you want to have a chance of success in the final game on December 18th, then you will also need to pick up points in games throughout the competition.
You score points for predicting the results and scores
of every game, as well as picking out the teams who will reach the knockout stages, the semi-finals
and ultimately be crowned World Champions
. The final feature is The Magnificent Eleven
- fantasy football with a dark twist. You score points for the goals your strikers and attacking midfielders score but also clean up for goals conceded by defenders and poor discipline from defensive midfielders and of course fatal penalty misses in the inevitable shootouts in the later stages.
I have been organising these games since 1994 raising money for charity. Thanks to the generosity of previous supporters we have raised hundreds of pounds at each tournament. You can help us to succeed in raising more by persuading your friends and colleagues to sign up and join in.
Please sign up, invite your friends, give generously, and enjoy the competition!