In January 2011, the tiny country of Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup. Many football fans were left scratching their heads, not least because it marked the first time an Arab nation had been chosen to host the tournament. But what has been less widely acknowledged is that there were some very concerning issues with Qatar’s bid at the time. In this article, we take a look at why so many people were left asking questions about Qatar’s bid and whether or not they have proven those naysayers wrong in recent years…
Why was Qatar chosen to host the 2022 World Cup?
The technical details of Qatar’s bid were always shrouded in a degree of secrecy. Plenty of other countries made promises about investment in the game and promises of what the tournament would mean for their country, but Qatar appeared to give very few details about how they would achieve any of that. In truth, the decision to choose Qatar was likely about much more than the technical details of their bid. Qatar had spent years cultivating relationships with FIFA’s decision-makers, promising investment in the game and, crucially, providing a degree of insulation from the inevitable criticism that hosting the tournament in the summer would attract.
What were the concerns with Qatar’s bid?
FIFA’s investigations found several serious problems with Qatar’s bid. They included: – At the time of Qatar’s bid, they didn’t have a single stadium that could host a World Cup game. For a nation that promises to build 14 new stadiums to host the tournament, that seemed like a pretty significant oversight. – Qatar’s only plan for hosting a World Cup was to build giant, air-conditioned tents in which the games would take place. FIFA’s investigators found that this would require an absurd amount of energy and would likely lead to some very poor playing conditions. – One of the promises Qatar had made to win over FIFA’s decision-makers was to improve the treatment of migrant workers in the country. FIFA’s investigators found that the evidence for this was very flimsy and that many of the workers were being treated extremely poorly. – Qatar promised to promote football in the region by staging youth tournaments and building academies. FIFA found no evidence that this was being done.
How did Qatar respond to its critics?
Qatar has invested a lot of money into denying the allegations that have been leveled against them. They have hired PR companies, lobbyists, and law firms to try to mitigate the damage done to their reputation by the criticisms of their World Cup bid. They have also made changes to their bid that have been noted by FIFA’s investigators. Qatar’s World Cup now includes a plan to build stadiums on the ground rather than in giant air-conditioned tents. They claim to have hired a large number of staff to help deal with the abuse of migrant workers and have promised to invest money in setting up academies and youth tournaments in the region.
Is Qatar hosting the World Cup a good thing?
That’s a very good question. Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup has been heavily criticized for several reasons. They are accused of failing to live up to their promises to improve the treatment of migrant workers, to invest in the game in the region, and to host a tournament that is enjoyable for fans. They also face accusations that they have been pursuing the tournament with dirty tactics and that they have used their political influence to get the tournament awarded to them. So are they a good host for the World Cup? It’s hard to say. FIFA’s investigations have found no evidence to suggest that Qatar have broken any rules in getting the tournament awarded to them. On that level, they seem to be worthy hosts. But there are a lot of concerns about how they are preparing for the tournament and how they are dealing with the controversy surrounding their hosting of it.
Where does FIFA go from here?
The biggest question for FIFA going forward is what they do about Qatar. In the past few years, they have made a series of announcements outlining how they are going to deal with the challenges that Qatar poses. The number of games that will be played in the middle of the day will be reduced and games will be moved to other stadiums around the country so that they are not played in the desert at such an uncomfortable time of year. These announcements have been widely welcomed by fans who were worried about the impact that Qatar would have on the tournament. However, they have also caused some concern amongst those who thought that FIFA should have spoken out against Qatar’s hosting of the tournament from the beginning.
FIFA’s choice to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup has proven controversial for many reasons, most notably because Qatar has faced allegations that it won the bidding process with the help of corruption. As a result, there have been a lot of questions about what Qatar’s hosting of the tournament means for the game, particularly given the difficulties in staging a tournament in the desert in the middle of the summer. FIFA has responded to these concerns by announcing a series of changes that are designed to make Qatar a more viable host and to address the challenges that hosting the tournament there will present. However, Qatar’s continued hosting of the tournament has raised questions about FIFA’s impartiality and what they should have done to address the controversy surrounding Qatar’s winning of the bid from the beginning.