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Qatar Cleared of Corruption Charges

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The FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial celebration of the ‘Beautiful Game’ where millions sit down to watch teams from across the planet battle for the honour of being world champions. Hosting the tournament can be huge for a country and in recent years FIFA have strived to spread the competition’s international wings. 2002 saw the first competition in Asia, 2010 saw Africa stage for the first time and Oceania remains the only continent yet to host. Anchoring the World Cup can unite the country, introduce it to the world and see a summer of celebration roar through their streets.

However, controversy has shrouded the bidding process ever since the 2nd December 2010 when Sepp Blatter opened the sacred envelope containing the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The name of the country… Qatar.

Whenever the words ‘World Cup’ and ‘Qatar’ have come hand-in-hand since, the black undercurrent of corruption has never been far behind. Many people view the decision ‘absurd’ and frankly ‘confusing’; with many believing that the Qatari bidding committee bought themselves the victory. A number of experts on the subject, such as Michael Garcia who made BBC Sport headlines today, are adamant that the rules were bent within the bidding process.

FIFA published their report on the matter this week, clearing Qatar of the chargers of corruption as well as 2018 hosts Russia for whom question marks were also placed. Uproar has come as a result, after all the general consensus sees the decision to give Qatar the tournament simply baffling.

With temperatures in summer (when the tournament is traditionally held) edging near to 50 degrees Celsius, the conditions are widely regarding as unplayable. As a result, it is only a matter of time before FIFA officially announces the start date of the tournament, likely to be in spring. Subsequently global domestic leagues, not to mention the Champions League will be hugely disrupted and games crammed into a smaller space of time. Players will be more fatigued and tired, although the season will become smaller, matches will only come thicker and faster.

Switzerland currently holds the record as being the smallest ever country to host a World Cup at 41,284 km², yet Qatar is set to take its place at a miniscule 11,586 km². Regardless of this, the committee promises 12 venues, 5 of which within the capital city of Doha. All stadia are set of exceed the 40,000 mark despite many not existing yet and three set for radical extension work.

Not only this, but there are concerns for some possible tourists to the country as a result of the World Cup due to still sketchy views within Qatar. Homophobia still heavily exists within the country, with the discrimination of the homosexual community still being viewed as ‘tradition’. It is heavily advised that gays should stay at home as opposed to going, with the belief that without FIFA intervention they could be banned from entering the stadium.

With the Middle East being renowned for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and a playground for the rich and famous, it is little doubt that Qatar will put on a show. With huge amounts of money being injected into the stadia, the country’s infrastructure and general appeal to new tourists it will be a spectacle to behold.

However, in handing the famous trophy to the Qatari committee four years ago, tradition will be shattered, leagues altered and unnecessary amounts of money spent by the government on what many people see as the ‘wrong things’. This week has seen FIFA clear Qatar of corruption charges, yet whispers still throng the air as soon as the subject is muttered. Even if FIFA are right, the decision remains shrouded in darkness, we can only hope that in 8 years time that the ‘beautiful game’ can dispel the eerie background politics with the joy it gives the world every day.

Kobe, YJA Sports Correspondent

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