World Cup Host Issues


The world was shocked in 2010 when Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010. The Persian Gulf state suffers temperatures well over 100 degrees in the World Cup months of June and July. In addition, the nation has little soccer history or presence on the sport’s international stage: It has never sent a team to the Cup to compete.
It turns out that there may have been more suspicious factors behind FIFA’s bizarre decision. The British press have alleged that Qatari billionaire Mohamed bin Hammam paid off FIFA officials in order to secure their votes to bring the Cup to his country. Emails have recently obtained by an English newspaper suggest that Qatar and 2018 World Cup host Russia cooperated to help each other win bids, and that bin Hammam used his connections in business and government to bribe officials from Thailand to Germany. If the allegations are true, FIFA Vice President Jim Boyce said he’d push to strip Qatar of the Cup and re-award it to another country.
An American former anti-terrorism lawyer will interview leading figures from Qatar’s bid team. Qatar has promised lawyer Michael Garcia “full cooperation” after soccer’s global governing body was engulfed in a new scandal following a British newspaper’s investigation into the bidding process for the World Cup finals.
Another worry, especially for fans, is the cultural conservatism of Qatar. Gay fans have expressed concern about visiting the country, where homosexuality is illegal, and foreigners have been whipped and deported for violating anti-gay. In 2010, FIFA President Sepp Blatter made headlines by suggesting that gays “should refrain from sexual activity” if they visit Qatar. He quickly apologized.
Another issue is the outrage over Qatar’s mistreatment of the construction workers building Cup infrastructure. They work long hours of hard labor in unbearably hot conditions. It is estimated that 1,200 workers have died in Qatar since the country was awarded the Cup. They are almost exclusively migrant workers from South and Southeast Asia and can only leave Qatar with the written permission of their employers.
If Qatar is found guilty, the 2022 World Cup would most likely move to the United States. The US finished second to Qatar in the voting, and have the necessary infrastructure in place to hold the event without much preparation. There has yet to be a decision on Qatar’s fate, but it is believed that the nation will be stripped of being the host. If that is the case, American soccer fans should get excited.