Tag Archives: Qatar

Questions concerning the World Cup in Qatar

October 24, 2014

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By Robert Mazzarolo – Thompson Rivers University 2L JD Student

December 2, 2010, a date that will live in infamy for soccer (football) fans around the world. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was set to announce the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. With the anticipated frontrunner being the United States of America (America) for 2022, the excitement in North America was palpable. The other hopefuls, which included Australia, South Korea, Japan, and Qatar, did not have a chance, or so it was thought. The World Cup would return to America to finish what it had started in 1994. What could be better? Inexplicably, this was not to be the case. As millions of soccer fans watched on their TV screens, FIFA President Sepp Blatter stepped up to the podium to announce the host nation for 2022. He opened the envelope and announced, “The winner, to organize the 2022 FIFA World Cup is, Qatar!” Yes! Wait … Qatar? Where is Qatar? This is where the tragedy of that evening begins.

How could Qatar surpass the United States for the right to host the 2022 World Cup? According to United Nations statistics, the population of Qatar in 2010 was 1.7 million people. Comparatively, the US’s population as of 2010 was 309 million. Less must be more in the eyes of FIFA. Of that 1.7 million people, three quarters are male. This bodes well for Qatar, as nothing says gender equality more than an extremely disproportionate amount of males compared to females. The US, on the other hand, is roughly evenly split at fifty percent male and femaler.

How about weather you ask? The average temperature in Qatar during the months of June and July is 42 degrees Celsius. Temperatures can reach as high as 50 degrees Celsius with continuous sunshine and no rainfall. These are the conditions to which FIFA agreed would be suitable for the World Cup. Qatar would argue that the heat will not be a problem as it will be countenanced by radical new cooling technologies capable of making 80,000 seat stadiums and the players on the pitch comfortable in the otherwise blazing heat. Comparatively, the average temperature in the US during June and July is a more reasonable 25 degrees Celsius.

What about labour force and working conditions? Surely, no matter what country is selected, infrastructure will need to be built to host the tournament. Qatar’s vast majority of trade’s workers are migrants from Pakistan, India, and Nepal. They have severe restrictions placed on their movement, including when they can exit the country. It is estimated by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) that at least 4,000 migrant workers will lose their lives in preparation for the World Cup in 2022. These facts along with others have led the ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, to classify Qatar as a “slave state.” Yikes! While America does have a history of slavery for its labour, at least they did the right thing and banned slavery almost 150 years ago. It would be interesting to hear FIFA’s defense of its decision in light of these facts.

Given these examples and others, it is clear that there are serious questions concerning Qatar being awarded the World Cup. Almost immediately after the results were announced, allegations of corruption within FIFA began to surface. Calls for an inquiry, an investigation became so loud and so widespread, even FIFA could no longer ignore them. FIFA hired former New York District Attorney, Michael Garcia, in 2012 to investigate the bid process and submit a report of what really happened behind the scenes. However, just to demonstrate FIFA’s arrogance, they will not release this report to the public. Furthermore, in the last few weeks, calls to strip Qatar from the right to host the 2022 World Cup have even come from within FIFA’s inner circle. Outspoken executive members of FIFA, such as Theo Zwanziger from Germany, remarked that he personally believes that the 2022 World Cup will not be held in Qatar. Even Sepp Blatter, the kingpin of them all, has stated that selecting Qatar to host a World Cup was a mistake. It may just be a matter of time before the right thing is done and the tournament is moved. Until then, FIFA should start to follow its own motto, “For the Good of the Game.”

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FIFA Considers Move to Winter for Qatari 2022 World Cup

October 4, 2013

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By Chelsea Dubeau – Thompson Rivers University 2L JD Student

In 2010, FIFA, the international governing body of football, awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. The agenda on this week’s meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee meeting is a discussion of the “period of the competition” of this event.

According to the FIFA Statutes, the Organizing Committee follows a “fair and transparent bidding procedure” with “the objective of securing the best possible hosting conditions.”The temperature of Qatar in the summer can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius, prompting concern from the FIFA medical chairman.In the interest of safety for all participants, FIFA is considering moving the month-long tournament to the winter. FIFA’s upcoming decision is unprecedented, as the World Cup has been held during the months of May through July since its inaugural event in 1930.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) recently declared their intention to sue FIFA if the games are officially moved to the winter.Australia was one of the unsuccessful countries that lost during the 2022 bidding process. According to FFA Chairman Frank Lowy, the Australian bid was put forward according to the FIFA requirement that the tournament must occur in June and July. Thus, their bid was put forward under false pretenses.

FIFA has responded to the FFA allegations by saying that the Committee is acting within its governing authority. FIFA’s President, Joseph S. Blatter, has stated that all bids were put forward under the same Bid Registration Agreement, which does not outright say that the games must take place during the summer.Therefore, FIFA does not owe Australia compensation, nor will they owe any other party affected by the move.

FIFA is relying on issues of interpretation. As the Bid Registration Agreements have not been made public, the exact terms of the contract are unknown. However, Blatter has stated that the Agreements refer to FIFA’s wishes for the event to occur in summer, not that the event must be held during this time. As such, no representations were made by FIFA that the World Cup is only a summer event.

If the FFA decides to pursue their legal challenge, it will be up to the courts to rule whether FIFA’s interpretations of the Agreements fit within a fair and transparent process. FIFA’s choice to rely on semantics is questionable, and this argument may not succeed in a court of law. Every tournament in the history of the World Cup has occurred in the summer, and the upcoming events that have been scheduled uphold this tradition. The logical conclusion of a reasonable person, or in this case a reasonable bidder, would be that FIFA intends the games occur in the summer, even in absence of the word ‘must’ in the document.

In addition to the FFA, there are many other interested parties that may pose a challenge for FIFA and the Executive Committee if the decision is made to move the World Cup to the winter. The move will interfere with the season for the European leagues, and the IOC has expressed concerns related to the timing of the Winter Olympics.

FOX Sports won the American broadcasting rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, paying over $1 billion for the deal.Due to the fact that it has never happened before in the history of the event, it is not likely that FOX considered the change that the broadcast could happen in the winter. With this change, it is now possible for the month-long event to interfere with the NFL schedule, and it could even overlap with the Superbowl. Would FOX have put forward such an impressive bid, knowing that it would be competing for viewers against the most-watched sporting event in the United States? It would not be surprising if FOX proceeds with an action based on a misrepresentation of the contract. FOX can assert that they were induced to enter the contract based on an untrue representation that the event would occur in the summer.

While the decision has not yet been made to move the World Cup, it is clear that there are multiple considerations that FIFA must keep in mind before the final decision is made. Regardless of the outcome, one can expect that this will not be the only challenge faced by the Committee leading up to the 2022 World Cup.

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