The award of hosting the World Cup in the year 2022 for the tiny desert country Qatar came as a surprise to many beating favorites such as Australia and the United States of America, which many people thought could win the rights. The FIFA executive committee had picked Russia to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup beating England the favorites and then out of the odds, picked Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.
Many people throughout the world have argued that the selection of Qatar as the 2022 FIFA World Cup host was biased because the soccer world cup calendar could have to be changed and be placed at least at January due to the high temperatures expected in June and July when the world cup is supposed to be hosted; but Qatar in their bid promised that with the temperatures expected to rise very much, they will build air-conditioned outdoor stadiums mainly for the event (Associated Press, 2010).
For any country to host an event whether the Olympics or the soccer World Cup as in the case of Qatar, the process begins with the preparation and implementation of a bid to host the event. This process requires specialist expertise and project management but it is also necessary to check whether it will be feasible for a particular country to host such a big event even before the country can submit the bid. The purpose of determining the feasibility of hosting an event is to ensure the effort and the expenditures are not wasted (Masterman, 2009).
Many regard the selection of Qatar as the 2022 hosts as a dubious voting process with allegations that Qatar promised to build air-conditioned stadiums a fact that too many appear more theoretical than real. The World governing body indicates that the World Cup might have to be hosted during the winter (around January) which was not part of the Qatar bid: A move which Qatar has bluntly refused. Through its co-executive member in FIFA, Qatar has maintained that its bid for the hosting of the event in June and July and it has never intended for the world cup to be pushed earlier or later from the two months even by a day. If the calendar was to be changed as FIFA is proposing, this would affect the schedules of European football to accommodate the Qatar World cup (Wallace, 2011).
But was the voting process dubious?
The process was not dubious from the public eye although allegations of lack of transparency and corruption are rife, just like in any other bidding process, several factors were which include knowledge of the bidding process, gaining of stakeholder support, political risk analysis was also exhibited and seem to have favored the Qatar bid over rivals (Masterman, 2009).
With the theme of the Qatar bid being to unite people while that for the US is to grow and improve the sport in the USA, the bid by Qatar seemed to have been preferred although technical issues were never looked upon well. Many thought that with the USA having credentials of holding successful events such as the 1994 world cup which fetched the largest ever several tickets, that it could be easier to win the hosting rights, FIFA still preferred the less known Qatar despite it hosting very few events with the just-concluded Asian cup tournament being the latest.
The issue of controversy with Qatar beating US and Australia, the questions which linger on my mind is if the US or any other country which was expected to win the hosting rights won, would the decision have been termed as wrong and corrupt? So why is it that when another country wins it seems outrageous? There is no doubt that FIFA like any other body has flaws when it comes to selecting hosts but anything can be improved. FIFA has moved from one member one vote to a 24 member’s team with the intent of improving its democracy and operation but it has not worked either. Though it is said that the 14 members of the FIFA executive committee who voted for Qatar were bribed or enticed with goodies, the process remains transparent to me.
Associated Press. (2010).
Masterman, G. (2009). Strategic Sports Event Management: Olympic Edition. 2nd Edition: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Wallace, S. (2011).