Qatar’s bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup was plagued by controversy, drama and whispers of corruption from the first. How does a tiny nation of just two million people, no footballing history to speak of, and a brutal temperature more suited for frying eggs on the sizzling sidewalk than hosting the tens of thousands of players, fans, media representatives and hangers-on that a world cup brings, nab the most prestigious sporting event on the planet from under the noses of the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia?
Lots and lots of money (and a fair bit of bullshitting), apparently.
Since Qatar’s bid was successful on the basis of their promise to build futuristic, air-conditioned, indoor sporting stadiums, the project has been a comedy of errors. First they said they couldn’t build as many stadiums as they promised. Then they revealed they couldn’t actually build the type of stadiums that their entire bid was contingent on. Then recently, the actual technology they were apparently relying on to cool the stadiums, has been revealed to not even exist in a practical sense; Qatar instead promised to use ‘wind towers,’ traditional Arab structures used since ancient times, that suck up hot air and put out cool air.
Of course, the fact Qatar’s bid distributed millions of dollars into the bank accounts of key FIFA stakeholders and voters couldn’t have hurt either.
Since bribery allegations surfaced in recent weeks, FIFA has been in damage control to ensure the corruption claims didn’t overshadow the 2014 World Cup, which kicked off overnight with hosts Brazil downing Croatia 3-1 in a match which saw its own fair share of controversy. Members of the unsuccessful 2022 bid teams have called for a re-vote, or for the 2022 tournament to be awarded to the runners-up, the United States.
Today, according to an ESPN commentator at least, the USA may be in line to be gifted the tournament.
ESPN host Jorge Ramos posted on Twitter today “#FIFA llamó a #USSoccer para que tenga listo un Comité Organizador para el 2022. No habría #Mundial en #Qatar” – which, according to trusty Google Translator, means “FIFA Soccer named U.S. ready to have an organizing committee for 2022. Would not have in Qatar World.”
In turn, Buzzfeed is reporting that it means FIFA is asking the USA to be ready for the hand-off.
Coming to America?