Will FIFA Finally Grow a Pair and Move 2022 World Cup from Qatar?
It's too soon to tell, but this might be one of those rare occasions where common sense prevails over corruption.
FIFA is a master of the latter, often at the expense of the former, but now even this self-serving governing body of football is grudgingly admitting that it may have gone too far by choosing Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.
For years, smirking at the 'perks' gained by FIFA poobahs that coincide with favorable votes has been commonplace. But with allegations of human abuse in Qatar escalating to frequent fatalaties among imported construction workers, the cavalier indiscretion of these good old boys are being called into serious question:
And it's not just construction workers.
The original award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar called for its staging in July, as it always has been. The fact that temperatures there average around 41ºC -- that's 106ºF -- in July was dismissed by FIFA, saying that the event organizers in Doha would sort it out.
Unfortunately, the sorting didn't happen quickly enough for Ecuadorean forward Christian Benítez, who collapsed and died during his debut for a Qatari side in July 2013. There's no indication this was heat related, but when the given reports of his demise varied from car crash to heart attack, there's every indication that the World Cup organizers are quite aware of the complications this image presents.
Since then, FIFA's backtracking has begun in earnest and continues to ooze out news of a date change:
Now that the consequences of such buffoonery are reaching new heights, perhaps the harsh light of cold reality will re-visit accounts such as Lord Triesman's -- a past chairman of England's Football Association -- who testified to his government after falling short in a quest to host the 2018 World Cup:
It's rich irony that FIFA actually has an Ethics Committee, but it does and this entire mess looks to unavoidably fall onto its agenda. The mechanics to move the World Cup from Qatar are there, the internal politics could become more favorable, and the PR cover of temperature considerations can conveniently waft over its directly addressing Qater's egregious foreign workforce policies.
FIFA doesn't need to act in order to keep from losing any more respect than it already has -- because there isn't any left -- it simply needs to do the right thing. That's a novel concept, looking outward rather than inward, but this time the world is watching more than what's happening on the pitch.