The winning bids
At the end of 2010, FIFA, the body that governs international soccer, announced the winning bids for the next two World Cups (2018 and 2022). The prizes went to hosting novices: Russia and Qatar. Then erupted the controversy.
An established, if middling, soccer power, Russia had seen its soccer federation struggle to deal with a persistent fan racism problem. Qatar, on the other hand, wasn’t even a soccer power. Its national team had never qualified for the World Cup, nor had the country constructed the requisite soccer stadiums to host one of the largest events in sports. Also, the World Cup is traditionally contested in the summer during which time temperatures in the Gulf state easily reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making playing conditions incredibly unsafe.
What’s more, before the announcement, smart money had been on the Americans bringing the Cup back in 2022. So the Qatari upset, in particular, set tongues wagging, speculating whether money and gifts hadn’t, in fact, been exchanged for the votes of senior FIFA officials.
The World Cup bid scandal wasn’t FIFA’s first brush with corruption allegations either. Charges of vote rigging, claims of bribe taking, allegations of mismanagement, and accusations of illegal ticket sales by senior officials had dogged the organization for years. To many critics, the corruptibility of FIFA officials had much to do with the way the organization was set up.
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