If it looks like a scam, feels like a scam, smells like a scam and overwhelmingly appears to be a scam, then it is probably the bidding process for awarding the 2022 FIFA World Cup, one that was ultimately won by Qatar. Suspicions that things may not be on the up-and-up regarding the matter began swirling among media members and football fans even before it was announced that Qatar had been picked as the host site for the 2022 World Cup, and all indications following the news that was first broken during the final week of May 2015 seem to show that the vote was, at the very least, tainted.
The current state of FIFA is, as of the posting of this piece, up in the air. Indictments against soccer officials from around the world, including the United States, have threatened to flip the international game on its head, and there is already speculation that both the 2018 World Cup and 2022 World Cup sites could be under re-votes depending on what is learned and released by the FBI and IRS in the near future. It may, due to construction processes, contracts and other matters, be too late to uproot the 2018 World Cup that is currently scheduled to take place in Russia.
The same cannot be said about the Qatar World Cup, but only if immediate action is made. FIFA owes it to everybody involved – fans, players, uncorrupted officials, sponsors and the beautiful games, itself – to make things right and elect to move the 2022 World Cup as quickly as humanly possible. Whether it is the United States, Australia, England or some other nation that gets to host the biggest party in all of world football in the summer of 2022 is right now irrelevant. The time to do what, truth be told, should have been done all the way back in 2013 has arrived.
10. The death tolls
Unless you have been living under a rock or just have not been consciously trying not to pay any attention to the matter, you have probably heard about the conditions that have been forced upon those preparing for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The actual amount of deaths is something that has been debated. Some have hypothesized that the figure could be 1,200, while others believe the number could actually be greater. Regardless, a popular opinion held by those of us on the outside looking in is that the situation is nothing short of abhorrent, one that can only be rectified by FIFA moving the World Cup to a different country.
9. The lies
Remember those stories about the FIFA World Cup occurring in the hot Qatari summer being A-OK because the country was going to unveil innovative and historic cooling technology that would forever change the way customers watched sports in hot weather? While referring to those stories as “fables” may be a bit harsh, it is known is that the dates of the 2022 World Cup have been moved so that the event will take place from November through December. That alone causes a whole different set of problems that make the tournament occurring in Qatar an unnecessary annoyance.
8. The scheduling conflicts
The best professional soccer leagues on the planet operate on a fall-through-spring schedule, one that begins in August and concludes in late May. Any major tournament such as a World Cup starting in November and running through the holiday season would interrupt competitions such as the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga, not to mention the Champions League and the Europa League. An apparent lack of supposed “cooling technology” has led to those running the tournament moving the 2022 World Cup from the summer months when the competition should run. FIFA should move the host site and not the dates.
7. Other countries deserve it
Some have concluded that the United States is, for a variety of reasons (more on that later), the obvious choice to replace Qatar as the host nation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. That does not have to be the case at all. Take Australia as just one example. Australia is in need of an event that will “grow the game” in the country. The A-League continues to gain momentum with every season, and it could use the boost that would be provided by a World Cup occurring in the nation. Add in that the weather in Australia is ideal for a June-July World Cup, and Australia may be the perfect nation to replace Qatar for 2022.
6. FIFA owes the United States a solid
All of the supposed “hot takes” about the western world trying to disrupt FIFA and tournaments that are supposed to occur overseas aside, the fact of the matter is that Sepp Blatter would still be the single most powerful man in all of world football if not for the work of the FBI and the IRS over the past several years. It has, to date, been US officials that have been responsible for the downfall of Blatter and for the public learning about the corruption that has plagued the beautiful game for decades. The least that FIFA and other countries could do is show gratitude by awarding the United States with the 2022 World Cup.
5. Avoid protests
Just how legitimate are any worries about countries and federations threatening to withdraw from the 2022 FIFA World Cup if Qatar remains the host nation? Germany felt that it was necessary to address the matter earlier in June. There have been calls for Australia, the United States and even Europe to make other arrangements for 2022 unless FIFA takes the historic step and moves the tournament. FIFA could make the decision easy for every country that attempts to qualify for the World Cup by getting out in front of the matter and moving the competition years before any talks of a boycott go from speculation to consideration.
4. Appease sponsors
Multiple sponsors have understandably had to release official statements following the first of what most insiders are expecting to be a line of indictments against soccer officials. Some have even gone so far to make “demands” that FIFA clean itself up. It is easy, seven years before the actual tournament arrives, for a company such as McDonald’s to remain all-in on the Qatar World Cup. What happens, however, when the event is a year away? Six months away? There is speculation that some companies could choose to bail on the World Cup, something that probably would not be a concern if FIFA would just announce that the tournament is being moved.
3. The bid was (allegedly) bought
The one tidbit that sometimes get lost in this whole mess is that the evidence against Qatar truly deserving the 2022 FIFA World Cup has been piling up for years. It was all the way back in 2011 when respected and reputable reporters began sniffing around what they believed to be some funny money regarding the tournament. Whispers about under-the-table bribes being involved have only grown over the past four years, to the point that it is perceived by many fans and analysts to be fact that the almighty dollar is the only reason Qatar won the bid. Those stories would be erased from memories if the World Cup was relocated.
2. Time to plan
A common idea that has been put out there whenever discussions about moving the 2022 World Cup have arisen is that there are only a handful of countries, such as England and the United States, that could plan to host the tournament in the eleventh hour if necessary. The “immediately” is in the title of this piece because such concerns would not be an issue if FIFA chose to relocate the World Cup this summer. That would give whichever nation earned the World Cup seven years to prepare stadium sites, hotels and anything else that would be required to successfully host the monumental occasion.
1. End the cycle
Any and all cynicism football fans may have had about FIFA at the start of May 2015, there is a big difference between believing an institution is corrupt and seeing all of the evidence that points to those ideas being correct. It has been dark times for FIFA and for the game as of late, and odds are that the stories are going to get worse before they get better. Keeping the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is unnecessary bad press that FIFA and the sport does not need. Having a rebid for the tournament is, for lack of a better description, the right thing to do. Make it so, FIFA.