World Cup 2022: How did Qatar win the opportunity to host the World Cup - and why was it a controversial decision?

Many were unhappy at the time that Qatar had been selected to host this year’s World Cup back when the decision was made – here’s how it happened.

It was back in January 2009 when FIFA invited countries to bid for the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Russia eventually won a vote to hold the 2018 competition, beating bids from England, Portugal/Spain, and Belgium/Netherlands.

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That decision was criticised due to Russia’s issues with racism, human rights abuses by the Russian government, and discrimination against LGBT. There was also the matter of Russia's escalating hostility towards Ukraine, following the annexation of Crimea.

It was then time to decide who would host the 2022 tournament, and the outcome remarkably proved even more controversial.

Here’s how Qatar won the World Cup.

How did the voting process work?

Once Russia were confirmed as hosts of the 2018 World Cup FIFA rules meants that members of UEFA (European countries) would not be eligible to bid for the 2022 tournament.

Many football experts thought Qatar a strange choice to host a World Cup.Many football experts thought Qatar a strange choice to host a World Cup.
Many football experts thought Qatar a strange choice to host a World Cup.

That left five competing bids from Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, and the United States.

On December 2, 2010, the FIFA Executive Committee met in Zurich to vote on the bids, with the country receiving the lowest number of votes dropping out after each round.

Australia were eliminated first, receiving only one vote from the 22-strong commitee, followed by Japan and South Korea.

In the final round - and to the shock of many football fans – Qatar beat the USA by 14 votes to 8.

Who are the FIFA Executive Committee?

Now known as the FIFA Council following a restructure, the FIFA Executive Committee is the main decision-making body of FIFA who are the world association football governming body.

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Its members are elected by the FIFA Congress, which is made up of the 211 members of FIFA, each of whom have one vote.

Why was the outcome of the vote controversial?

Qatar did not seem to be a particularly good fit for the World Cup, becoming the smallest nation by area ever to have been awarded the competition – and only the second country (after Japan) to host the tournament having never qualified for it previously.

Having six of the eight stadiums in one city (Doha) is also a first and was predicted to cause problems due to the large number of fans grouping in one place.

Add in tough laws on alcohol consumption, a poor human rights record, a ban on same-sex relationships, and high temperatures (that caused the tournament to be switched from summer to winter), and there was no shortage of reasons to choose a different country to host.

Was the vote influenced by corruption?

There have been multiple allegations of bribery and corruption in the process that selected both Qatar and Russia as host countries.

Qatar was accused of paying FIFA officials around £3m in bribes, but was ultimately cleared after a two-year FIFA investigation.

However chief investigator Michael J. Garcia has since described FIFA's report on his enquiry as containing "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations”, and both the FBI and French authorities have opened investigations into corruption.

Several of the 22 FIFA executive committee members who voted for Qatar have since been accused, banned or indicted over allegations of corruption and wrongdoing.

One of the more colourful allegations was that Qatar hired former CIA officer Kevin Chalker to spy on rival bid teams and key football officials.



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