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The world calls for investigations into Qatar’s corrupted 2022 FIFA World Cup bid

Since Qatar was handed the right to host the 2022 World Cup of the biggest sport in the world, there has been a consistent and persistent upraise in demands to look into the allegations and accusations made by various sporting experts, media platforms and human rights groups.

The questions arising from all these channels target the obvious indications of possible collusion i.e. Qatar’s human rights values and laws, the local climate, the country’s pale football history, the incomprehensible cost, and Qatar’s political climate. The allegations of exchange of bribery and misconduct have been placed on a number of Qatar officials and FIFA executives and members.

In November of 2017, a witness testified in court that a senior FIFA official took bribes in the range of $1m to secure a vote for Qatar to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. And it is just a part of the pool of corruption that FIFA board members have engaged in at the hands of Qatar officials. A recent estimation states that around $880m were handed out in bribes to ensure that Qatar comes out on top in the bid. In 2014, a witness Alejandro Burzaco, the former CEO of the Argentinian sports marketing executive, alleged that Julio Grodona, a senior vice president at FIFA and head of the Argentinian Football Association told him that he received a satisfying sum in exchange for his support for Qatar to hold the flagship event.

Burzaco also testified that while he was holding bribes in the range of $1m per person for securing the broadcasting rights for Copa America, he was informed by Grodona that he already received a bribe from Qatar. He also testified to Burzaco of receiving $80m in bribe to secure Qatar the vote. Burzaco as also there in Zurich for the vote in 2010 along with Grodona, Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz, who was the Conmebol president at the time. All of them openly expressed their desire to back Qatar for the vote.

These are some of the few stories of corruption and bribery that have been brought on to the scene, with the major plethora of misconducts yet to be revealed.

Right now, Qatar is in no shape to hold the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The country has to undergo enormous constructions, build and extend football stadiums, roads, and highways, and ensure great extension to public transport. A major portion of Qatar’s workforce already comprises of overseas workers. And the issues involving Qatar’s immigrant and workforce policies have already been highlighted a number of times by various human rights groups. The workers are like slaves in the country and they can’t even leave their jobs without the permission of their sponsor. Qatar’s commitment to human rights is pathetic and although it promised in 2014 to bring reforms in this department, little improvements have been made. While Qatar is iterating 2022 FIFA World Cup to be a catalyst of change, modern-day slavery is at its peak in the country. The Nepalese Ambassador to Qatar, Maya Kumari Sharma informed the world in 2013 that the workforce responsible for working on the 2022 World Cup project is facing very harsh conditions. They are not being given their due salaries and their work ID permits. So basically, they are working as illegal immigrants and are being exploited to the fullest extent. Even if they did try to escape this slavery and leave this country, they would be caught and put to jail for having incomplete documents. In addition, Qatar’s support of terrorism is no private thing, and the country is accommodating some major terrorist names that have been barred from the countries of the United States and Britain. This clearly violates FIFA’s anti-terrorism policy as well, which states that FIFA will not hold any major tournament in any country which actively supports terrorism.

Estimates have shown that the 2022 FIFA World Cup will cost Qatar around $220 billion in total, with around half of it will be spent on stadiums and the other half on transport infrastructure, accommodation facilities, air-conditioning and training facilities. All these projects are so improbable that Qatar even requested FIFA to reduce the number of venues to 9 from the decided number of 12. Meanwhile, Qatar is also not fully equipped to accommodate all the parties associated with the 2022 World Cup and is seeking help from its neighbors to share the load, as it will be the smallest country to ever hold the world cup.

Qatar’s climate is very hot and during the time the world cup will be held the temperatures will cross the 50-degree centigrade or 122-degree Fahrenheit mark. A number of doctors belonging to Qatar have stated that the climate will affect performance levels of players to an extent that it can be health damaging. Stating that the recovery times would be longer and more mistakes may be made on the pitch. The quality of football will be affected. While one or two doctors have even branded it impossible for the world cup to be held in Qatar.

The prospect of a winter world cup has also been presented but that too is highly improbable. As the 2022 Winter Olympics are to be held during that time which makes the chances of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in winter close to zero. Also, other high-profile events occurring during that time also make the situation impossible.

All of the things pointed above makes one wonder just why would the 22 member FIFA board vote for Qatar to hold the flagship event of world football. The conditions, the cost, and all other events point in other directions and Qatar seems to be the least suitable option. While FIFA is continuously defending its decision to hand Qatar the right, the stack of questions rising up is quickly becoming a burden on the shoulders of the FIFA’s executive committee.

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