So the United States has been put on standby to host the 2022 World Cup in the event that the ongoing controversies on climate, treatment of migrant workers and alleged corruption continue, and eventually force FIFA to do a backflip and take the tournament away from Qatar. How must the other nations who bid for hosting rights feel about that?
Apart from the United States, bids to host the 2022 event came from Australia, Japan, Qatar and South Korea.
All of these nations missed out to the oil rich Qatar which is per capita the richest nation on the planet. FIFA’s ethics committee is currently investigating bribery allegations and already drawn into the investigation are two men who have already been censured. Mohammed bin Hamman has been banned from football for life after the Qatari was discovered to have attempted to buy votes when he ran for the FIFA Presidency. While the former CONCACAF President Jack Warner resigned prior to suffering a similar fate after repeatedly stretching the boundaries of ethical practises.
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber has stated that the bribery allegations are “going to get a lot more legs if more comes out, who knows what happens?”
FIFA President Sepp Blatter was quoted as saying he was “not a prophet” when asked if Qatar could lose the hosting rights, is due to visit the country again later in the year to monitor the progess on workers rights. He will see whether issues such as unsafe working conditions, and workers being unpaid have been addressed.
FIFA is expected to ride out the storm of bribery accusations but many close to the sport say it could never ignore human rights issues, and live with a tournament created on the back of the mistreatment and deaths of migrant workers.
As for the USA being on standby “We certainly would be happy to hold it here and have a lot of big stadiums that could turn it around and host at short notice.” Don Garber is quoted as saying.
Australia is instantly not an option as it lacks the stadia to be able to host at short notice. Japan and Korea could easily do so, but no doubt it comes down to the fact that by the time 2022 comes around these two nations will have hosted the event 20 years earlier, while the USA its ill have been 28 years. Undoubtedly both of these Asian countries could have stepped in but the USA is seen as a growing market in football terms while those of Japan and South Korea have stabilised.
FIFA has only once previously moved the World Cup back in 1986. Colombia had originally been chosen to host the competition but largely due to economic reasons, was not able to meet the requirements and officially resigned hosting rights in 1982. Mexico was selected as the new host in May 1983, mainly because it was in a similar region and having hosted the event 16 years earlier had the facilities.