When FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar in 2010, the world’s eyebrows collectively raised (and one mirror was rumored to be broken). People questioned how this tiny Middle Eastern nation with its dubious human rights record would handle the influx of international spectators, and more importantly, how the players would cope with Qatar’s notoriously hot summers (temperatures can rise to 120 degrees). Some have demanded the World Cup be moved to winter in 2022.
But now, thanks to recent revelations about bribery and corruption, many are calling to move the World Cup to another country entirely. They want a re-vote, which at least one FIFA official publicly said he would support. The latest scandal comes just days before Michael Garcia, an independent investigator hired by FIFA, is set to complete his two-year inquiry into Qatar’s bid on June 9.
Qatari officials are reportedly saying not so fast, though. The BBC reports:
“Qatari officials are believed to be considering all options open to them, including possible legal action, if the vote for the 2022 World Cup is re-run.”
Thus far, Qatari officials have flat out denied any wrongdoing and are instead more worried about the roughly $38.6 billion worth of investments the country stands to lose should the World Cup be moved to another country.
But it’s Qatari soccer players who might be the most upset, as hosting the World Cup automatically would gain the country that’s never before qualified for the tournament automatic entry. Saeed Brahimi, a Qatari player who would potentially join the Qatari national team, told GulfNews.com:
“[To prevent us] from getting the World Cup, which is the biggest event in the world, would be really upsetting. I don’t think that’s fair because everyone worked so hard. They planned everything and now it has just gone because of some people trying to get the whole country down.”