It was one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history when the fantastically wealthy Qatar managed to persuade the money grabbing, corrupt FIFA administration that it would be a great place to hold the 2022 World Cup. The small matter of nobody ever watching football in Qatar or it being far too hot to actually play the game properly where of course minor concerns. The practicalities of not being able to play and the local population having little interest where countered by some judicious vote buying.
Anyone and everyone, outside perhaps the upper echelons of FIFA saw the result in it’s true light. A very sad insight into how far the authorities who control the ‘peoples game’ had fallen. It was confirmation for many of us of the rumours of bribery, corruption and fraud which existed in the corridors of FIFA. Most of it was confirmed in full in a report released after pressure from the German Newspaper Bild, who threatened to publish excerpts.
The corruption was on a huge scale, stories like a secret payment of over 2 million dollars made to the ten year old daughter of Brazilian FIFA member Ricardo Teixeira. Other details reported about three senior FIFA figures being shuttled around to meetings in luxury Qatari jet. There’s little doubt that Qatar bought the world’s biggest sporting tournament, yet should it be allowed to keep it in a post-corrupt FIFA world?
Things haven’t really got any better, as far as Qatar hosting the tournament has gone. there’s lots of political instability in the region and many reports of human rights issues in the stadium building. Many people have been killed on the constructions sites and there’s lots of rumours about modern day slavery there. Human rights groups have been repeatedly calling for the tournament to be removed from the country in response to these violations.
The World Cup has a magic which few other sporting tournaments can match. They have the ability to bring huge economic and social benefits to an area, plus the obvious sporting incentives of hosting the tournament. There are football fans across the globe who dream of swapping the evening of watching Match of the Day live from the computer to travelling to somewhere to cheer on their national team. There can be no magic hosting it in Qatar, it’s a stupid place to play football in the Summer and it’s likely only there from bribes and corruption.
Fortunately it seems that the groundswell of opinion of switching the tournament is beginning to take effect. Many reports are now being produced suggesting that it could be moved to somewhere with the existing infrastructure to hold it relatively easily. Places like North america and the United Kingdom have enough stadiums to host the tournament at short notice. Indeed there are many European nations who could either host or share the hosting quite easily.
The latest suggestions have come from a Saudi sports chief who presumably has some connections. It would go a long way to making the public believe that FIFA has really turned over a new leaf.