Qatar’s World Cup in serious trouble: Fans evening the score

March 14, 2019 4:58 pm


Suddenly, the world’s soccer governing body FIFA has thrown the Qatar World Cup bid into a tailspin by announcing that Nations must restore ties with Qatar to host World Cup games. “Ideally, this should be evidenced as a precondition to the appointment of such co-hosts and should cover all aspects related to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” FIFA said.

FIFA bombshell

Persian Gulf countries would have to lift boycotts of Qatar before being eligible to join hosting of the World Cup, FIFA determined in a feasibility study recommending its ruling council endorse the expansion of the 2022 tournament to 48 teams despite the logistical and political complexities, said CNBC Sports, quoting an Associated Press (AP) report.

Qatar would not be forced to share games with Bahrain, Saudi or the UAE unless those countries restore diplomatic and travel ties with Doha.

No such demands on Kuwait and Oman by FIFA as a condition to host games in ’22.

Executives from HSBC Holdings Plc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other global banks are intensifying efforts to repair ties with Qatar’s finance ministry and sovereign wealth fund, according to interviews with people close to the lenders and Qatar’s government, according to Bloomberg.

Venues in at least one more country is needed to accommodate 16 more teams and 16 games under the latest expansion proposal.

Final decision on this is Friday, March 15, 2019, to be delivered in coordination with Qatar.

Two other potential co-hosts – Kuwait and Oman – are more feasible because they are not part of the boycott. Qatar’s national football team used the countries as stopovers to get its team to the Asian Cup in the UAE in January because direct travel is prohibited.

Corruption claims back on

Qatar’s unexpected vote success came nearly 9 years earlier and prompted corruption investigations which questioned Qatar’s conduct in lobbying voters but concluded there was no such misconduct, according to AP.

The Washington Post found that at least over a thousand construction workers had died in all construction sites in Qatar since 2012 (so not only including the stadiums). That was in 2015. Since then, more people have died, with one worker at a stadium site falling 130 feet to his death last year. “Workers are often forced to give up their passports to the companies they work for, effectively forfeiting their ability to leave,” said Starsandstripesfc.com.

Former leader of the Liberal Democrat party, Tim Farron, a prominent British MP has called for an investigation into Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup after a poll revealed that more than 9 in 10 football fans want to see the tiny Gulf state being stripped of the tournament, ARAB News reported.

93% of the 6,240 people who voted were adamant that Qatar should be shown the red card and the tournament moved elsewhere. The poll runs until Friday 15 March.

“As fans they want the beautiful game to remain beautiful — not become mired in bribery and foul play, …we need an independent investigation now,” added Farron, who headed the Liberal
The Sunday Times said Qatar allegedly offered FIFA as much as $880 million in secret payments at key stages in its efforts to host the 2022 World Cup.

A FIFA spokesperson said: “Allegations linked to the FIFA World Cup 2022 bid have already been extensively commented by FIFA, who in June 2017 published the Garcia report in full on FIFA.com.

What stadiums?

Starsandstripesfc.com said that the stadiums they need for this expanded tournament don’t really exist. “While eight potential additional stadiums are identified in the region in the FIFA study, only two in the UAE, one in Saudi Arabia and one in Kuwait meet the 2026 requirements.”

With only a couple of years before the tournament, these stadiums need to be altered in order to match the requirements for the tournament.

Beyond the stadiums, you also need the corresponding infrastructure for such a big event. That means a sufficient number of training grounds, hotels, and transportation infrastructure.

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Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.



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