World Cup for Soccer in Qatar Faces Brand New Barriers


Ramisa Promi

The country of Qatar is set to host the 2022 World Cup in soccer, but there is a lot of controversy surrounding the decision.

When Qatar made a bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the world was in shock. They would be facing fierce rivals, such as the United States, despite only being ranked 113th in the world in soccer. In fact, the Qatar national soccer team has never even made it to the World Cup since its independence in 1971, making it the first country to host the World Cup without ever competing in the renowned tournament by their own merit. Naturally, this has raised questions about how Qatar won the bid to host the World Cup.

In late March of 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice declared that representatives from Russia and Qatar bribed FIFA officials to obtain hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup, respectively. Prosecutors charged three media executives and a sports marketing company for money laundering, wire fraud, and numerous other crimes. These were all in connection to bribes that would ensure television and marketing rights for the World Cup tournaments. These allegations came after years of investigations and indictments. The case had already convicted several others, including many soccer officials. Three South American officials were paid to vote for Qatar, and two voters in the committee had been filmed agreeing to vote for Qatar. 

Qatar has continuously denied such accusations  since they began their bid for the tournament in 2010. “Due to the fact that Qatar gained the hosting rights through illegal means, the bid should be taken away from them and given to the United States, which Qatar beat in the runoff,” said Karen Phua ’21. Though that may seem like a good solution, it is more difficult to enforce than it seems. With the tournament only two years away, it is nearly impossible to change the host country within such a short time frame. Moreover, FIFA was forced to move the start of the 2022 World Cup to November, due to Qatar’s hot summers. This falls in the middle of the European soccer season, and their schedule will now have to be adjusted around the 2022 World Cup. 

Another big concern about Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup is the size of the country. Given that Qatar is a relatively small country, it will be the smallest country to host the World Cup, and its capital, Doha, has never hosted an event of such great scale. Nevertheless, organizers are claiming that this will not be an issue. The event planners have suggested various plans such as expanding Doha’s ports to accommodate extra cruises which will also serve as floating hotels. Qatar has even designed a building and rental program that will provide the 100,000 rooms that FIFA requires. Unlike many past host nations that wanted visiting fans to stay a few extra days as tourists, Qatar is instead hoping that visitors will attend multiple games on a single day and leave once their tickets are gone. 

Despite all of the challenges that Qatar has faced for the chance to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, its government refuses to give up their hold on it. “It’s important that Qatar is able to host the World Cup because it would increase tourism and revenue in Qatar, which is a relatively new country. It would also make up for the millions and millions of dollars that went into preparing the country to host the 2022 World Cup,” said Nivaj Haque ’21. 

“Due to the fact that Qatar gained the hosting rights through illegal means, the bid should be taken away from them and given to the United States, which Qatar beat in the runoff,” said Karen Phua ’21.

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