Could Qatar Lose The 2022 World Cup?

It is all kicking off today. Michel Platini is in custody and is being detained on suspicion of corruption. And it’s all because Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Which, and let’s be fair here, was a shock to almost everybody when it was announced a few years ago. Since then speculation of corruption within FIFA has been rife.

Platini is already serving a football ban after he was found guilty of receiving a £1.3m “disloyal payment” from Seth Blatter. And it has since come to light that originally the US was ‘supposed’ to win the bidding process.

Blatter then claimed Platini had backed out of the agreement. By sheer coincidence (not) that was also around the time that Platini held a meeting with Qatar’s crown prince Tamin bin Hamad al-Thani.

And frankly, the whole process did and still does stink of bribery and corruption.

As does the process of actually hosting the competition in Qatar. Due to the heat, the tournament has been scheduled for late November until mid-December. This has caused mass disruption to the footballing leagues around the world.

While football matches can be re-scheduled, there is no getting away from issues faced by the migrant workers in Qatar.

Amnesty International accused Qatar of using forced labour and forcing the employees to live in poor conditions and withholding their wages and passports. Ironically they are the lucky ones. Figures have been disputed but there is no getting away from the hundreds who have died building the stadiums.

Reforms were introduced to improve conditions but that didn’t stop a crew of four journalists from the BBC getting arrested in 2015. They were held for two days after they attempted to report on the condition of workers in the country.

Fast forward to May 2019 and the Daily Mirror discovered some of the 28,000 stadium workers are being paid the equivalent of £5 per day or £35 for a typical 48-hour week.

Now, in light of the ongoing investigations, there is a chance that Qatar may actually lose the World Cup. They beat bids from USA, Australia, South Korea and Japan in 2010. But the is pressure mounting. If it is confirmed that there were inappropriate payments to get votes, Qatar could lose the right to host.

Some are even suggesting that it would go to England. Due to the existence of the infrastructure and transport links, they are one of the few countries who could hold the tournament at short notice. THen again so could the US and they were the ones who lost out on the bid initially.

For now, despite the scandal, nothing has changed. And despite all the investigations and allegations of corruption it never will. If the deaths of hundreds of migrant workers and Qatar’s appalling human rights record doesn’t count for anything, then neither will a few million quid in bribes.