Since the FIFA scandal has been exposed, many questions have risen in regards to the current status of the locations of the games to be played in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
** In case you haven’t heard, several FIFA officials were indicted on charges of financial fraud and bribery in the past couple of weeks, an investigation that was conducted and executed by the FBI. **
So let’s go back to when it all started:
In 2010, the 2022 bids for the World Cup were announced and Qatar was the winner. This surprised a lot of people. Let’s be perfectly honest here, how many people at that point even knew where Qatar was? (FYI it’s a country in the Middle East on the Arabian Peninsula.)
For the past decade, the country has had a large amount of economic growth fueled by oil and other commodities. They even have a wonderful 5 star national airline (check them out, Qatar Airways). Qatar is a developing country with the capital city, Doha, and is one of the safest countries in the Middle East.
It’s really hot there, wasn’t that an issue when deciding?
Now, the weather was always the hot (no pun intended) topic involved in the World Cup conversation, since it’s scorching hot in the summer and may affect the players’ performance. Many people were even more shocked when the dates of the 2022 World Cup were announced, saying that it would be held in December 2022.
One of the best things about the World Cup was that it was in the beginning of summer – outdoor bars, viewing areas, sunshine…not snow and Christmas around the corner. Another shocking number besides the temperatures were the amount of deaths (yes, deaths) that have occurred as a result of trying to get this country ready to host a World Cup. Not 100, not 200, but 1,200 deaths have been reported while trying to get everything built and in place in time.
Do people in Qatar even like soccer..?
Another issue amongst fans of the sport was, “Why is this country hosting a World Cup when they don’t have a club team, national team, or a big following with this sport?” Usually, the host country has, or is developing, a bigger presence of the sport and has a national team to participate (or one that has participated in the past).
When Qatar announced their plans to host, one of the perks was the luxury they would bring. The stadiums would be enclosed with air conditioning to ensure player and spectator comfort. It wasn’t about the love for the sport, it was about the greed and infrastructure that Qatar could provide.
So how did anyone find out about the sketchy bribery going down?
This scandal came to light by a woman named Phaedra Almajid. Since she has spoken up, she has to have top notch security present to protect her and her family. She did all of this to expose the corruption that was occurring within FIFA and the bribery that Qatar supplied to have their country host the World Cup. She was very brave for doing so, props to her.
Many soccer fans (or football fans, whichever floats your boat) have had speculations about former President Sepp Blatter and the corruption that tarnished the sport. It was just a matter of time before it was exposed and released to the public. Blatter was recently elected to a fifth term and quickly resigned after pressure was brought about with this scandal by the FBI. He was president since 1998.
So what happens from here?
Well, here’s the deal. Not much is known about Russia’s bid for 2018 just yet, but it’s looking like Qatar may have a chance of losing their bid according to The Hindu. Meanwhile, BBC Sport reports that both countries have a chance of losing their bids.
Vladimir Putin decided to respond to the United States’ investigation, commenting, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal, “These officials aren’t U.S. citizens, and if some sort of activity occurred, it didn’t occur on the territory of the United States.” He also continued to bash the US involvement and defended FIFA.
It takes time to build these stadiums and prepare for visitors. If FIFA is going to strip bids, they better have a plan B and have it fast so countries can prepare and the games can be played without a hitch. Just pause for a moment and recognize that 1,200 people died during construction in Qatar; another major issue where lives were lost at the hands of corruption.