In May 2011, allegations of corruption within the FIFA senior officials raised questions over the legitimacy of the World Cup being held in Qatar. According to the vice-President Jack Warner, an email has been publicised about the possibility that Qatar 'bought' the 2022 World Cup through bribery via Mohammed bin Hammam who was president of the Asian Football Confederation at the time. Qatar's officials in the bid team for 2022 have denied any wrongdoing. The whistleblower at the centre of the story later claimed to have fabricated the allegations of corruption. FIFA confirmed receipt of the retraction
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World Cup 2022 Background
Due to the new FIFA policy which was introduced in 2007, countries from a particular confederation could not place a bid if that same confederation hosted either of the past 2 World Cups. Since Brazil is the 2014 World Cup host and Russia became the 2018 World Cup host, both South America and Europe could not place any bid. Therefore the following 5 countries showed interest and placed an official bid:
A total of 4 voting rounds were needed in order to come up with a winner which was a first. In the 4th round South Korea, Japan and Australia received 0 votes. United States received 8 votes and Qatar 14 votes.
In December 2010 the FIFA Executive Committee announced Qatar will host the 22th World Cup in 2022. On this day it was also announced Russia would be the 2018 world Cup host.
It will be the first time a World Cup will be hosted in Qatar, but it will also be the first time a World Cup will be hosted in the Middle East. While Russia will become the largest nation to host a World Cup, Qatar will be the smallest host country geographically in World Cup history.
Qatar will also be the 3rd country to become a World Cup host country without having qualified once for a World Cup! The first time this has happened was back in 1934. In 1934 Italy became the World Cup host country while not having qualified for the very first World Cup in 1930. Japan became the 2nd country to become a host country for the 2002 World Cup, while never having qualified yet for a World Cup at that time.
World Cup 2022 Stadiums
It is still unknown how many stadiums will be used for this 2002 World Cup. The original idea was 12, but it is possible this amount will be reduced. 6 stadiums in total are in the advanced stage regarding their design.
In November 2013 Qatar unveiled the first design of a new stadium in city Al Wakrah. The stadium is inspired by a traditional fishing boat named dhow, which the city is famous for. There will be cooling system, however it is unsure yet how this will be implemented.
The Al Wakrah stadium will have a seating capacity of 40,000 and the forecast is the construction will be completed by 2018. The stadium will be able to host group matches, Round of 16 matches and Quarter-Final matches. The works on the site will start in January 2014 and it is planned the construction of the first 2022 World Cup stadium will start in the 4th quarter of 2014.
World Cup 2022 Concerns
The 2002 World Cup kick-off is still a long way to go, nevertheless this World Cup appears more in the news than the 2018 World Cup. The criticism and discussions regarding Qatar being the host country is immense. First of all there have been allegations of bribery and corruption in the selection process. There were claims Qatar ‘bought’ the World Cup. FIFA president Sepp Blatter even stated in October 2013 Qatar as a host country was a political and economical decision. FIFA’s independent Ethics Committee is investigating the bidding process of the 2022 World Cup. It is expected the results will only be available in spring 2014. There are many respectable figures in the football world who expect for a new vote to occur in order to choose another host country for the 2022 World Cup. The FIFA communication department however stated in October 2013 the World Cup will be held in Qatar one way or another, the question is only when.
When will the 2022 World Cup be held, in which month? That is the main question that will be answered only in early 2015. Why is it such a big deal? Because the Qatar summer can reach temperatures of more than 50 degrees (!!). It will simply be to hot. There are plans to move the World Cup to the winter in the month November/December when there are more pleasant temperatures of 25-30 degrees. Both FIFA and Qatar are open to this possibility and will conduct research whether this is feasible. One factor to consider for example is the European competition, whether they will agree or not. Sepp Blatter stated the tournament will not be held in January and February out of respect for the Winter Olympics.
Qatar seems very confident about hosting the World Cup. A few stadiums have already been suggested which will contain the most innovative and environment friendly cooling systems. Therefore Qatar even stated it is possible to host the World Cup during the summer.
Although the stadiums are currently being constructed, there also exists a controversy regarding the migrant workers. Many are working in degrading conditions where according to the Guardian newspaper many workers died due to accidents and heart attacks. This is considered as 1 of the reasons to take the World Cup away from Qatar, and to choose another host country. Blatter raised this issue with the Emir of Qatar and United Nations independent expert (Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants) François Crépeau stated the following after his first visit in Qatar:
“I hope the 2022 World Cup will be used as an opportunity for Qatar to enhance the effective respect, protection and fulfilment of the rights of migrant workers”
As mentioned before, FIFA stated Qatar will definitely host the 2022 World Cup. It is possible FIFA will await the results from the independent FIFA Ethnic Committee before deciding whether the tournament will be held in the summer or in the winter for the first time in World Cup history. But as Sepp Blatter has stated, the Ethnic Committee does not have the power to take the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar. Only FIFA’s executive committee, a 25-strong board headed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter can make such a decision.
A senior official responsible for organizing the 2022 World Cup stated that the tournament will attract 1 million international visitors to Qatar.
There is still a long long long way to go before the 2022 World Cup kicks off, so it is possible any decision regarding the tournament might change by FIFA. Maybe Qatar will eventually not host the 2022 World Cup? Only time will tell.
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