Monday, May 23, 2011

Qatar 2022 World Cup Bid

Apparently there has been allegations in the UK press that a whistleblower has stated that Qatar bribed to African officials who voted for Qatar to get the World Cup bid. Qatar and the 2 FIFA officials involved all deny the allegations. The whistleblower will be talking to FIFA shortly, if he hasn't already. There is speculation as to whether, if the accusations prove true, a new vote will be held. There were similar allegations before the vote that Qatar was doing some kind of vote trading with Spain or something. I think this is an issue the World Cup bids are going to face every time.

I can't comment as to the allegations, but would I be willing to support another vote?

I suppose . . . if all the other bids are investigated as well to see if they committed any bribery infractions!

Second place in the 2022 bidding was the United States and it appears that people have short memories. The US bribed IOC officials to win the 2002 Winter Olympics and the bribery was a lot worse than what is being alleged of Qatar. Unfortunately it was deemed too late to give the Winter Olympics as someone else once the scandal was uncovered (how nice was that). There have also been some allegations about Japan when it won the 1998 Winter Olympics, mostly related to excessive “entertainment expenses”. So it's not like the US has a clean record.

I think FIFA needs to really change how they do things if this kind of stuff is going to happen every time -- allegations flying around during the bid round and whenever somebody wins. My suggestion -- increase the number of voters to 300 or more, it’s a lot harder to bribe hundreds of people than the 50 or so FIFA currently uses. The accusations are Qatar paid $1.5 million to each of the two executives, you are certainly not going to spend that kind of money on 100+ people.

I hope this issue gets resolved quickly so things can move on.


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