Lawyer and investigator Michael Garcia has submitted his World Cup report to FIFA regarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids in Russia and Qatar. Though decisions aren't expected until later this month, FIFA announced yesterday they have two alternate dates for the 2022 World Cup.
The 2022 Qatar bid is under investigation after claims that FIFA vice-president Mohamad bin Hammam paid over €3 million to officials around the world in return for the 2022 World Cup. Aside from the controversy of the bid itself, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said that the World Cup cannot be played in the Qatari summer due to the intense heat. He has now suggested the tournament be played in January or November in 2022.
We have covered the Qatar World Cup situation here at The18 previously, and posted that the report will not be made public. FIFA released a statement regarding the report saying, “The report sets forth detailed factual findings; reaches conclusions concerning further action with respect to certain individuals; [it] identifies issues to be referred to other FIFA committees; and makes recommendations for future bidding processes.”
The report is 350 pages, which includes interviews with 75 witnesses.
With the submission of thr report, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said the hosting decision could be made on September 26th in Zurich during a third-quarter meeting with his executive committee. But its seems that until then, FIFA will move forward with the planning of the tournament. FIFA's consultation group, which includes clubs, leagues, players’ unions and Qatari head organizers, will meet again in November and February.
That is, if Qatar still has the World Cup. Until that separate decision is made, let's look at the scheduling changes that will be made in run up to the World Cup if it does move forward in Qatar.
Europe’s top leagues would need to be closed down for two months mid-season, as would the UEFA Champions League. Playing in the Qatari winter would affect club schedules the year before the World Cup as well, which would need an earlier start and later finish. FIFA are planning to draft a 6-year international match calendar (2018-2024) to plan for the three season disruption. Clubs are required to release their players for National Team duties.
The Qatar World Cup has been overrun with drama, starting with allegations of bribery and corruption, continuing with findings of mistreated migrant workers, as well as doubt over the country's readiness to host the tournament. Now comes the issue of when to play the tournament, which will potentially end up impacting every club, league and competition in Europe. The bottom line is that, if played, this will be the most lavish and expensive World Cup ever. The question we would ask is, "Is it really worth it?" In our assessment, before FIFA decides when the tournament is played in Qatar (and the impact of this decision), they should decide if it’s going to be played there at all.