sport news The World Cup risks being blown away and that's not unlucky... it's a scandal 

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There are a lot of surprising things about Japan. Typhoon season isn’t one of them.

Cafes where you can go to pet hedgehogs, or owls, yes. The restaurant that serves unfertilised chicken eggs still connected to the fallopian tube, certainly. 

But typhoon season? May to October each year, without fail. Always has been, probably always will be. August and September are its peak periods, but mainland Japan is hit on average three times each year, with varying degrees of potency.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that this World Cup is disrupted by typhoon season

It should come as no surprise to anyone that this World Cup is disrupted by typhoon season

The heavy rains are coming and England's final group game has been cancelled

The heavy rains are coming and England's final group game has been cancelled

Sometimes they get away with a little rearrangement; other storms bring calamity. So a tournament that began on September 20, with 28 matches scheduled for October, was always courting trouble.

The organisers cannot say they were not warned. They have, quite literally, reaped the whirlwind.

That the 2019 Rugby World Cup now risks being blown away as it reaches the climactic weekend for the pool stage will be seen by some as simply unfortunate.

There will have been plenty of years, the majority no doubt, when games could have gone ahead untroubled as they have done so far.

Yet, equally, there was always the possibility of dramatic complications.

And if it is tough on the French players who will now not get the chance to win the group, or Scotland, who may yet fly home without receiving a last chance to qualify, think of the fans.

All week in Tokyo, there has been enjoyable interaction with groups of supporters who have built holiday adventures around this tournament. Some can’t afford more than one week, one game, and the showdown in Yokohama between England and France was a popular choice.

Many fans will have bought flights and hotels to see England vs France only to be disappointed

Many fans will have bought flights and hotels to see England vs France only to be disappointed

Certainly, no one sold them a Rugby World Cup experience that could be cancelled at three days notice. It was close to midnight on Wednesday here when the news leaked that England and France would not go ahead.

Tickets bought, flights booked, hotels long paid for in advance. It is not unlucky, the fate that has befallen these rugby loyalists. It is a scandal.

Just as it was a scandal that the IAAF sent their World Championships to Doha and laid it on for empty stadiums, with the women’s marathon turned into a route march to the emergency room, so oppressive were the conditions.

Just as it was a scandal that what should have been a grand finale to the County Championship cricket season this year became an artificial encounter between the contenders Essex and Somerset and a damp squib, because a summer sport finished four days after the start of autumn.

Just as it was a scandal England played Sri Lanka in monsoon season; and that the Africa Cup of Nations has now been moved to some of the continent’s wettest months; or that FIFA agreed to host a World Cup in Qatar at a time of year that would have made the schedule at best unsustainable and at worst lethal.

In their desperation to grow the sport, to explore new markets, or whatever euphemism is currently in vogue to mask quite naked greed, organisers no longer consider the geographical or geopolitical challenges of their plans.

Several matches in the 2010 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola were taken to Cabinda, an oil-rich but disputed territory that had previously suffered terrorist attacks. The bus carrying the Togolese team came under fire and three died. It was entirely avoidable.

As was this. There were three dead the last time a major typhoon hit mainland Japan, too. That was in September. 

Typhoon Faxai

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