Qatar May Not Be the Best Option for 2022 World Cup

Manad Sood, Staff Writer for Spokesman

It is common knowledge that for worldwide sporting events such as the World Cup and the Summer and Winter Olympics, a nation must be chosen to host the event. Hosting an event as large as the World Cup requires the host nation to essentially rebuild its infrastructure, which includes telecommunications, electric power, and transportation. This requires major financing, which ultimately forces many regions to back out of their attempt to win the hosting rights. However, many areas also choose to look at the expenses as an investment that will hopefully bring increased worldwide attention that had not been present before the expenditure.

The latter opinion was clearly expressed in the recent 2022 World Cup bid from Middle Eastern nation Qatar. It is rare for a country of Qatar’s size (population: 1.8 million) to bid for the honor of hosting the World Cup, which requires several new stadiums along with an improved infrastructure. However, it would not be a struggle for Qatar to agree to those conditions due to the fact that it is the world’s richest country per capita.

When the surprising news that Qatar would host the World Cup was leaked, controversy soon arose. The Sunday Times has obtained millions of secret documents, emails, letters and bank transfers that allegedly prove that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totaling US $5m to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid.

Adding to these increasingly problematic circumstances are several key factors that could potentially influence the success of the 2022 World Cup. One that could potentially have the largest impact are the reports concerning the large number of migrant workers in Qatar losing their lives due to harsh working conditions. This has sparked a worldwide backlash that could most definitely scare away tourists.

Tourists are also expected to stay away due to the obvious reluctance to travel to the Middle East. Outrageous travel costs factor into this equation, along with the recent executive decision to hold the tournament during the winter months due to the extreme summer temperatures that Qatar is known for. By holding the tournament in the winter, FIFA is cutting heavily into the season for the world’s largest professional leagues. These leagues all play in November and December, and there is a great deal of money to be made in those two months. This affects TV rights, deals, ticket sales, etc. By moving the World Cup to the middle of the league season, FIFA would be taking the top players away from those clubs, leading to a serious talent deficiency in those leagues.

Qatar has succeeded in stepping onto the world athletic stage. However, their bid does not appear to have placed them in a positive light, as concerns over various aspects of the tournament have not gone down well with the public. Qatar has ultimately launched an untimely revolution against football aficionados all over the world, testing their dedication to the game