FIFA’s decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup has been doused in controversy since 2010.
The small nation’s bribery allegations, apparent breaches of human rights and scorching weather have led to calls for Qatar have the right to host the tournament taken away.
But could FIFA make the decision to strip Qatar of the tournament, and choose a different country to host it?
Will Qatar be stripped of hosting the 2022 World Cup?
It is extremely unlikely that FIFA that FIFA will move the tournament away from the Arab state with the competition set to begin in less than four years. No movement has come from FIFA to address the possibility of a change of host.
Despite the pressure from several human rights organisations, football figures and other countries to strip Qatar of hosting duties, building preparations and tournament organisation has not stopped.
Planning for the tournament has continued as usual, despite regular news emerging about the extremely poor working conditions in the country, including violations of human rights.
As things stand Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup.
In February 2018, FIFA president Gianni Infantino stated that there would be no change to the hosts of the 2022 World Cup: “There is no doubt that 2022 World Cup is taking place in Qatar. I also hope that there would be broad collaboration and cooperation for the World Cup between the countries in the region.
“At the end of the day, this is a World Cup for the whole region. Everything is on track for the Qatar World Cup.”
Another FIFA spokesperson added: “FIFA is in regular contact with the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“FIFA does not comment on allegations or individual opinions.”
Additionally, even if there was a possibility of Qatar losing the hosting rights, FIFA would have to undergo a new bidding process to find a replacement host nation. As FIFA awarded Qatar the tournament in 2018 – 12 years in advance – there is minimal chance that they would turn around and award the World Cup to a fresh host with just under four years left to go.
Qatar have also vehemently denied all allegations of bribery, with their Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy stating: “The Supreme Committee rejects each and every allegation put forward.
“We have been thoroughly investigated and have been forthcoming with all information related to our bid, including the official investigation led by American attorney Michael Garcia.
“We have strictly adhered to all FIFA’s rules and regulations for the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process.”
As a result, there is no indication at this time that Qatar are in danger of losing the tournament.
Why is Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup controversial?
The decision to name Qatar as World Cup host has been deemed contentious for many reasons. Obvious issues such the small nation’s ability to host such a large tournament and the decision to move the competition’s start date away from the traditional months to avoid the heat of the summer barely scratches the surface.
Qatar and FIFA have been embroiled in bribery allegations, with many questioning how the Gulf nation was able to win the bidding process in the first place, beating out the likes of Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States – countries that have been considered as more prepared and able to cope with hosting a tournament of such a large scale.
Garcia, the attorney, quit as FIFA’s ethics investigator in 2014 due to a “lack of leadership” within the organisation. After the report had been leaked to the media, it was published in full – but still did not directly link Qatar to the buying of votes.
According to leaked documents obtained by the The Sunday Times in 2019, the Qatar-run television channel Al Jazeera (now beIN sport) allegedly offered $400 million (£330m) to FIFA for broadcasting rights just three weeks prior to FIFA announcing Qatar’s successful host bid.
The contract is also said to have included an unprecedented success fee of $100m that would be paid to FIFA in the event that Qatar was successful in its bid. Additionally, documents revealed that an extra $480m was offered by the State of Qatar government to FIFA for the right to host the tournament, bringing the total proposed amount to $800m.
FIFA refused to comment on the inquiry and told The Sunday Times: “Allegations linked to the FIFA World Cup 2022 bid have already been extensively commented on by FIFA, who in June 2017 published the Garcia report in full on FIFA’s official website.
“Furthermore, please note that FIFA lodged a criminal complaint with the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland, which is still pending. FIFA is and will continue to cooperate with the authorities.”
Another main point of controversy has been the violation of human rights in Qatar and the harsh treatment of migrant labourers who have been working on World Cup projects.
The Qatar government has faced severe backlash for the dire living and working conditions for the workers, and Amnesty International claim that little has been done to improve the situation.
There has been a lot of discussion about deaths of migrant labourers since the Washington Post published a report that showed a death toll of over 1,000 such workers in Qatar since 2010.
Another big problem is the Qatari law, as homosexuality is illegal, with LGBTQ+ fans facing huge political ramifications should they wish to attend the tournament.
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