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Could Japan Take The 2022 World Cup From Qatar?

Amid allegations of corruption in Qatar's bid for World Cup 2022, as well as reports of human rights violations, JFA President says Japan can step in.

If FIFA strips Qatar of its 2022 World Cup hosting rights over corruption allegations, the Japan Football Association says it would be able to step in and put on soccer’s biggest event. 

Japan was one of the countries that lost out to Qatar for the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, but they believe they have all the resources needed to host if necessary. 

“If FIFA look[s] for an alternative country, we already have the stadiums that would meet the criteria to host it,” JFA president Kuniya Daini said

Japan has experience organizing this event, as they co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with neighbors South Korea. And with the 2020 Olympics in Japan, the infrastructure needed to put on an event like this will already be in place. 

Qatar has been under investigation by the FIFA ethics committee for possible corruption involved in the bidding that landed them the World Cup. Despite these allegations, head of Qatar’s World Cup organizing committee, Hassan Al-Thawadi has adamantly denied that Qatar “bought” the tournament and said that hard work was what landed them the 2022 bid. 

Qatar is also under fire for the labor conditions and treatment of foreign construction workers. Over 900 workers have died thus far building for the 2022 World Cup. 

Jim Murphy, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, said he saw evidence of migrant workers being baited to the Gulf by the promise of good salaries, but once they arrived, their passports were taken so they could not return home. 

It will be interesting to see how the investigation proceeds in the coming months. FIFA’s medical chief Michel D’Hooghe said he was “convinced” there would not be a re-vote for the 2022 World Cup. However, having a backup plan is never a bad bet and should these unfortunate allegations prove true, we may see a new flurry of activity as nations beyond Japan vie once again to host World Cup 2022.

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