2022 World Cup in Qatar – FIFA’s Overheated Decision-Making

  • Ever since Qatar received the World Cup, the World Cup in 2022, many controversies have surfaced. Photo Credit D@LY3D. No changes were made to this photo. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

For those who barely follow soccer or world politics, the tiny Middle Eastern country of Qatar may seem quite inoffensive—most probably haven’t even heard of it. However, for those who revolve around the soccer planet, the country has been a source of frustration and desperation for several years now.

On December 2, 2010, it was announced that the 2022 FIFA World Cup would be played in Qatar. It was a shocking decision from the get-go. The location of Qatar makes it very difficult to host the tournament in its regular summer time slot. Temperatures in the summer months exceed 40 degrees Celsius and this would be a health issue for the players who have no choice but to run around the pitch for 90 minutes.

It was only a few months ago that FIFA announced they’d found a solution for the unbearable heat—hosting the tournament in the winter (or fall).

The exact months aren’t set in stone yet, but whether the World Cup is played in November or in January the consensus is loud and clear. This will screw up the world of football, especially where it works the most: Europe.

FIFA’s decision begs the question: why would association soccer’s governing body even consider a country like Qatar in the first place?

Ask this question in a pub in most countries around the world and the answer will probably be shouted at you in a split-second. Corruption. Money. Basically what you’d expect of a normal pub conversation on politics.

But those people may not be all wrong.

An 18-month investigation led by former New York district attorney Michael Garcia was started to look further into both the 2022 World Cup bid and the 2018 bid, won by Russia.

In November of 2014, FIFA’s ethics committee decided that there was no sufficient evidence to take away the tournament from either Russia or Qatar.

Less than a month after these actions, Michael Garcia resigned as FIFA’s investigative director. “As my public statement at the time explained,” Garcia told The Telegraph,” the [FIFA ethics committee] Decision contained ‘numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of facts and conclusions.’”

Garcia was so fed up with FIFA’s activities and attempts at damage control that he preferred to leave.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg. We haven’t even looked at the treatment of workers that build the stadiums and accommodations for the tournament.

The International Trade Union Confederation estimated that at least 4,000 migrant workers, mainly from Nepal, Sri Lanka and India, will be dead before the World Cup even starts.

Workers in Qatar told The Guardian that they were forced to work in 50 degree heat, that their salaries were retained for several months, that their passports were taken from them to prevent them from leaving and that they were denied free water to drink.

The Guardian also reported that Qatar recruited migrant workers from North Korea who work without daring to complain while Pyongyang pockets 90% or more of their earnings.

Back to the 2021 Confederation’s Cup, which has been stripped from Qatar. FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said that the event will be played in another Asian country. No one from FIFA has given a specific reason as to why they took the hosting rights of the Confederations Cup from Qatar.

This whole situation has been detrimental to world football for the past four to five years. The outrage of last summer’s World Cup in Brazil was sad in every way, but it’s no match for what the Qatari are already getting, even with seven years left to go before 2022. Qatar should not have received the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup; I don’t think that’s shocking to anyone.

As for the Confederations Cup, the choice of country within the Asian Football Confederation seems simple: Australia, which was the easy favourite right out of the gate.

The Australians have a country in which soccer is rapidly gaining ground and it would be great to see them host a major event. They hosted a very successful Asian Cup tournament that saw the host country running away with the title. Australia could also host soccer’s biggest event, as they were a bidding country for that same World Cup tournament.

Another nation that could consider hosting the 2022 World Cup is the USA. They were finalists in the bidding process but lost to Qatar and many Americans are still bitter about it to this day.

The Americans are used to hosting major events and have the stadiums to prove it. Next year, they will host the hundredth edition of the Copa America, the continental tournament of South America. The tournament will include cities from coast to coast.

Hosting the World Cup on Australian or American soil would be a better option for FIFA, who are constantly in damage control mode—and don’t seem to be very good at it. There are a lot of things that still need to be uncovered about Qatar’s World Cup bid, but let’s simply acknowledge that the two reasons I mentioned are good enough to strip the coveted tournament from the tiny nation.

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