2022 World Cup host selection raises concerns

By Tyler Filippini

Qatar will be hosting the 2022 World Cup.

Yes, you read that right. Qatar, a country with a lower population than Kansas and with a land area smaller than Maryland, will be the host of the next World Cup. Despite being ranked the lowest out of all nine bids from 2018 and 2022, only having two of its eight potential stadiums built, and being threatened by Saudi Arabia to be turned into an island by virtue of a canal, Qatar will be hosting the next World Cup.

When Qatar presented their bid, they unveiled their “revolutionary air-cooling system” which turned out to be as realistic as building castles in the sky. As a result, to prevent heat exhaustion, the World Cup’s date was forced to be moved to November and December, the middle of the season for most major soccer leagues around the world. Qatar layed out a promise to “disassemble” the stadiums and donate them to less well-off nations, which is not only impractical, but highly ineffective cost-wise. And this isn’t even scratching the surface of the labor issues and mistreatment of Indian laborers which has been abundant since construction started, with numbers reaching a staggering 1,200 deaths among workers.

But it’s good for soccer in the Middle East, right?

Not really. Saudi Arabia and Iran are perennial World Cup contenders, while Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Israel all field highly competitive teams. Soccer doesn’t need to be brought to the Middle East because it’s already there. Even so, Morocco, an influential Arabic nation, and Egypt, a regional power, both were passed up in 2010 in favor of South Africa, with Morocco bidding — and failing — to host 5 times in total.

When the 1994 World Cup was held in the United States, records for attendance were set. The average of nearly 69,000 spectators per game and the grand total of 3,568,567 attendees are records that still stand today.

The US faced fierce competition for the host nation but still appeared to be the frontrunner. Close behind were the bids of Australia, Japan, and South Korea. Australia, where soccer is a growing sport, has the infrastructure and economy to provide quality stadiums, in addition, the bountiful rugby pitches already in place; furthermore, Australia would have been the first Oceanic country to host the event. Then there were Japan and South Korea, two nations who have qualified for the World Cup ever since their joint-host bid in 2002. Both are technologically capable nations, and both have massive football fanbases.

Qatar has proven that by waving money in the face of voters, you can accomplish anything.

As for the US, don’t be too worried, as they won the right to host the 2026 World Cup in a joint bid along with Canada and Mexico.