If you haven’t seen yet, reports have surfaced that FIFA Executive Committee member, Theo Zwanziger, doesn’t think the 2022 World Cup will be played in Qatar. He told German publication Sport Bild, “Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions. I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar. They may be able to cool the stadiums but a World Cup does not take place only there. Fans from around the world will be coming and travelling in this heat and the first life-threatening case will trigger an investigation by a state prosecutor. That is not something that FIFA Exco members want to answer for.” Okay, that’s all well and good (even though thousands have already died building the stadiums so far) but I personally think it’s just a bunch of noise and here’s why.
First, the Qatar World Cup has had a myriad of issues surrounding the 2022 World Cup. Slave labor and human rights violations, laws discriminating against women and homosexuals, corruption, bribery, moving the World Cup from summer to winter and cutting back on promises on the stadiums (AC for outdoor stadiums) have plagued this World Cup and we’re still eight years away. Obviously some issues I mentioned here are more important than others but this has all happened in the four years since Qatar was awarded the World Cup and it hasn’t caused FIFA to move it yet. Why would they move it now because it’s too hot? As long as the check clears, FIFA would have the World Cup anywhere in the world if it was financially viable.
Second, this isn’t the first time that a major sporting event should’ve been moved for things like facilities in danger of not being completed, corruption and rights violations. Going backwards from Qatar, the 2018 World Cup is in Russia and 2014 Winter Olympics was in Sochi. Not only do we have to deal with Vladimir Putin and him invading Ukraine and being incredibly homophobic, but the facilities for the Sochi Olympics weren’t even close to being completed and they had the Olympics anyway. We just had the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and they didn’t finish a few of the stadiums, particularly in Manaus. There were also protests about how the Brazilian government would rather spend money to have high profile sporting events like the World Cup and the Olympics than help out the people of Brazil who are really struggling to survive.
I could go down the list over the past 50 years and find many more bids which were criticized and had calls from many people that it should be moved and they had those events anyway than those bids where there were no issues. The only time an event of this magnitude was moved was the 1986 World Cup from Colombia to Mexico and Colombia made that decision themselves because of economic concerns. FIFA didn’t take it from Colombia. Going off the odds, I can’t possibly expect FIFA to take the World Cup away from Qatar. Qatar can always give up the World Cup, but you and I both know that isn’t happening.
Third, this statement is one man’s opinion. Yeah, he’s on the Executive Committee so that carries a little weight, but I’m going to have to hear more than one person say this before I start to believe it. Any reports saying Qatar is definitely losing the World Cup is reading WAY too much into the situation. Also, I tend to be rather hesitant when I see posts like this about the person who made these comments.
Worth remembering that Theo Zwanziger doesn't enjoy backing by German FA, let alone FIFA Exco. lone voice in the wilderness
— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) September 22, 2014
All we currently know is that FIFA isn’t responding to the comments so at most, Zwaniger’s remarks should be taken as opinion only and not fact. He even said “I personally think” so yeah, let’s hold off on giving the World Cup to someone else.
Look, I hope FIFA does the right thing and takes the World Cup away from Qatar. I don’t even mind if they move it somewhere that isn’t the United States. Out of all the previous bids who have had issues, Qatar’s have been the most serious and they don’t deserve to host the World Cup. The problem is that we have to trust that FIFA will do the right thing and FIFA doesn’t usually do the right thing. FIFA is just as corrupt as Qatar so I’m not expecting anything to happen. Call me cynical but I’m not going to hold my breath about the 2022 World Cup being moved. Eight years from now, I’m expecting to see the United States play in the World Cup, in Qatar, while I’m eating my Thanksgiving dinner.