How Qatar won the rights to host the World Cup

With the 2022 World Cup underway, we want to explain why and how Qatar won the rights to host the World Cup.

“How did I get here?!”

The line from Talking Heads’ 1980 song “Once in a Lifetime” may be something that resonates in the minds of many of the players, coaches, fans and members of the media who are in Qatar right now. Casual viewers, unaware of world soccer politics, who are tuning in may also be wondering, “Why is Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup?”

The answer is complicated and incredibly simple. The complicated answer is a culture of corruption, backroom deals, and longstanding ego. The simple answer is money, and lots of it.

The best way to understand how Qatar won the rights

The documentary is one of many exposing how we got to a World Cup hosted by a nation the size of Connecticut, with only one major city, at the wrong time of year, and at venues that, for the most part, didn’t exist just a few years ago. few years.

In our opinion, the following video is the best and most authoritative explanation of what happened to get Qatar to host the World Cup. It’s certainly better than FIFA Uncovered, which is currently on Netflix.

The story is told primarily through the lens of Chuck Blazer, former CONCACAF General Secretary and FIFA Executive Committee member, his associates and other heavyweights in the FIFA organization.

History recalls lavish meetings and meals, cash gifts to ExCo members, a bird aviary in the Trump Tower office, an apartment for cats and other excessive indulgences from the CONCACAF kingpin.

FIFA undone by whistleblower

In early 2010, the African Football Union met in Angola, where their meeting was sponsored by the Qatar 2022 bid. Three ExCo votes were present and up for grabs at the time. In the documentary, Phaedra Almajid, Qatar’s bid media coordinator, details how she was hired to translate during this conference, and the three members were offered $1.5 million each in exchange for supporting the bid.

Reynald Temarii, then a member of the ExCo representing Oceania, is shown later that year in hidden camera footage openly soliciting a bribe, for which he was later suspended from FIFA. The heavy hand on the part of the Qataris of Michel Platini and UEFA is also strongly implied.

An anecdote from the film certainly stands out among the reactions to the 2022 vote results. Qatar’s announcement as host of 2022 was so shocking that former President Bill Clinton, present with the US delegation, apparently smashed a mirror with an ashtray. in his hotel room after the vote.

In the years following the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar (and Russia), FIFA exerted enormous pressure and serious investigations into the bidding process for 2018 and 2022. An internal report by FIFA it was so damaging that the ExCo decided not to publish it in its entirety.

Sepp Blatter was interviewed and reveals that the President of France had pressured Platini to support the Qatari offer, supposedly in a quid pro quo to ensure that Qatar would buy French-made aircraft. Though he later goes on to claim ignorance about other details of vote-bought and corruption that were outlined in FIFA’s own internal report.

The Department of Justice and the FBI intervene

Things began to unravel for FIFA, in part, because Chuck Blazer agreed to cooperate with an FBI investigation as part of a deal, acting as an informant during the 2012 London Olympics to help catch corrupt officials. Blazer was forced to participate after the FBI discovered that he had been dodging millions in taxes.

May 2015 saw a series of high-profile arrests of FIFA officials in Switzerland, as well as at the CONCACAF headquarters in Miami, as the FBI cracked down on those responsible for corrupt activities within the organization.

All in all, it’s a fascinating look into the underworld of one of the most powerful sports organizations in the world. The tournament has still been held in Qatar despite many problems, but perhaps the silver lining is that, in the wake of the controversial bid award, at least some of the unseemly characters and practices have been removed from the game. Or at least, we can only wait.

Thanks to DW (Deutsche Welle) for explaining how Qatar won the FIFA World Cup rights.

Photo credit: Imago

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