THE BLOG
06/01/2011 04:36 pm ET Updated Aug 01, 2011

To "Qatar" or Not to "Qatar"?

Qatar's scandalous triumph in taking the 2022 World Cup was driven by millions of dollars in bribes?

At least that is what undercover reporters close to FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association or Football's governing body), are claiming.

The process of choosing a host country for World Cup 2018, and 2022, began officially in March 2009. Eleven bids from 13 countries were received, including one which was withdrawn and one that was rejected before FIFA's executive committee voted in November 2010.

Two of the remaining nine bids applied only to the 2022 World Cup, while the rest were applications, initially, for both. Bids for the 2022 World Cup came from Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, and the United States.

With the U.S. being the most likely candidate to win the bid, Qatar, which had "never" qualified to for the competition, shocked the world and became the first Middle Eastern nation to host the World Cup.

(Qatar earned 14 votes -- 6 more than the U.S. in the final vote count).

Qatar, with only 1.7 million inhabitants, also became the smallest nation to host a World Cup.
Immediately after dropping that bombshell on the footballing world, the rumors of bribery, and corruption started to engulf the topic.

Not only does Qatar, one of the richest nations in the world, have a very harsh climate during the summer (and that single fact by itself would present a very serious challenge for all team participating in the event), it is also remarkable to mention that Qatar is not a powerhouse in Asia when it comes to football, and they have yet to win a serious competition in that region.

While many were curious about the seriousness of the allegations against Qatar, they officially became the "host," and at least for a while the "issue" took a backseat and the controversy seemed to be forgotten.

However, a few days back, one of the most important figures in Asian football politics, Mohammed Bin Hammam's bid for presidency of FIFA once again brought the Qatar 2022 World Cup controversy back into headlines.

This time AFC (Asian Football Confederation) President Mohammed Bin Hammam himself was accused of offering bribes to replace Sepp Blatter, the current FIFA chief for the upcoming election.

Following allegations by FIFA Executive Committee member Chuck Blazer, Bin Hammam was charged with offering bribes for votes and appeared before FIFA's ethics committee on May 29, and as a direct result Bin Hammam was forced to withdraw from the presidential race the day before the ethics committee, leaving Blatter to run unopposed.

On May 29, 2011, FIFA's ethics committee suspended Bin Hammam temporarily from all football-related activities pending the outcome of a full inquiry into accusations that he has offered financial incentives to members of the Caribbean Football Union.

"I thought we were in a world of fair play, respect and discipline and unfortunately I have to see it no longer is the case," Blatter said at the ceremonial opening of FIFA's congress.

Bin Hammam also said that he would appeal against the committees' decision to provisionally ban him from football related activity, saying that "the way these proceedings have been conducted is not compliant with any principles of justice."

While English and Scottish football associations call for the postponement of presidential election amid bribery turmoil, many countries are questioning whether or not Qatar should be disqualified from hosting the World Cup, and since Bin Hammam was the "main" figure behind buying the votes and using his country's money/influence, turning an "impossible" task into a fabled "reality," it may very well be feasible for FIFA to take back Qatar's 2022 dream away from them!

Using millions of petro-dollars to buy votes?

During May 2011, allegations of bribery on the part of two members of the FIFA Executive Committee were tabled by Lord Triesman of the English FA. These allegations were based on information from a whistleblower involved with the Qatari bid. FIFA has since opened an internal inquiry into the matter, and a revote on the 2022 World Cup remains a possibility if the allegations are proven. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted that there is a groundswell of popular support to re-hold the 2022 vote won by Qatar.

According to the Guardian, "A London law firm hired by the Qatar bid has strongly denied the allegations, calling them 'entirely false'. However the Sunday Times's letter said that it had separately spoken to 'a whistleblower who had worked with the Qatar bid'."

In testimony to a UK parliamentary inquiry board in May 2011, it was mentioned that Trinidad and Tobago's Jack Warner demanded $2.5 million for an education center in his country and Paraguay's Nicolás Léoz asked for an honorary knighthood in exchange for their votes.

Also, two Sunday Times reporters testified that they had been told that Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast and Issa Hayatou of Cameroon were each paid $1.5 million to support Qatar's bid for the tournament. All four have denied the allegations.

According to the Guardian, "the Qatar Football Association issued a statement in which they said they 'categorically deny' the allegations. "As the Sunday Times itself states, these accusations 'were and remain unproven'. They will remain unproven, because they are false," it said."

On top of everything else that is incorrect with Qatar hosting the World Cup, one can also add several other subjects that are going to present the event with enormous predicaments.

Weather: During summer season in Qatar, the temperature can get to 50 °C (122 °F).

Alcohol: Fans may not be permitted to consume alcohol (Qatar is a Muslim country and drinking in public is strictly prohibited).

Homosexual fans (The selection of Qatar as host attracted controversy, as homosexuality is illegal in Qatar): FIFA President Sepp Blatter stated that "we (FIFA) don't want any discrimination. What we want to do is open this game to everybody, and to open it to all cultures, and this is what we are doing in 2022."

Is FIFA going to revoke the decision for Qatar to host the World Cup in 2022?

To "Qatar" or not to "Qatar"?

That's the question that is going to be answered real soon. You can bet on it!