2022 FIFA World Cup: How Did Qatar Get Chosen as the Host Country?

2018 World Cup hosted in Russia was surely a memorable tournament. It has given us with so many impressive performances from our favorite players and teams. It may have concluded but some fans are still not moving on. Many are now starting counting down their calendar to the next World Cup in 2022 which will be held in Qatar.

Now, you must be wondering, “How are these host countries selected?”

Are they just randomly picked from the globe or are they going through a rigid procedure before they get the honor of hosting the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world?

Read on to know how FIFA selects a location for their next World Cup tournament.

The Bidding Process

The bidding process for the 2022 FIFA World Cups was the process by which the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) selected locations for the 2022 FIFA World Cups.

The procedure began in January 2009 and national associations had until 2 February 2009 to register their interest. It was only in March 2009 that the official process has begun; the federation received a total of eleven bids from thirteen countries, including one that was rejected and one which was withdrawn. Nine of these countries bid for 2018 and 2022 World Cups while two bids applied only to the 2022 World Cup.  Over the course of the bidding, all European bids for the 2022 edition were excluded. The remaining bids slimmed down from Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, and the United States.

The selection process was tainted with several scandals and controversies. Two members of the FIFA Executive Committee were allegedly accepting money in exchange of their votes which results to the suspension of their voting rights. When the announcement of Qatar as the host country was made, even more allegations of vote buying came out. Out of the 22 committee members who voted on the 2022 tournaments, eleven of them have been prosecuted for corruption, suspended, fined or banned for life.

Rotation Policy

Following the selection of the 2006 World Cup hosts, FIFA designed a policy on how to determine the hosts for their future editions. There would be a rotation for the six world confederations in their turn of providing bids, for a specific edition, from within their member national associations.

The rotation system came under review in September 2007 and a proposal for a new system which renders ineligible for bidding only the last two World Cup host confederations was made.  Under this policy, South America and Africa are ineligible for the 2018 bid whereas Asia, North America, Oceania or Europe is where this bid could come from. Likewise, no member of CONMEBOL could send a 2022 bid and successful 2018 applicant from the same confederation would be disregarded in the 2022 selection procedure.

The 2018 tournament would have to be held in Europe since the last non-European candidate in the 2018 bidding cycle which is United States withdrew its bid for that year. This in turn meant that Europe and South America were not eligible for 2022.

Voting Procedure

The selection of the host country from the candidate was voted by the FIFA Executive Committee.

How was the tournament host determined?

The committee used multiple round exhaustive ballot system to select which of these candidates will be given the honor of being the host country. All eligible members of the committee have one vote. A candidate country that has the fewest votes per round is eliminated until the majority choses a single candidate. In the event that there is a tied vote, the deciding vote will be given by FIFA President Sepp Blatter. The committee was initially made up of 24 members; however it came down to 22 since two of the members received suspension due to the allegations of selling votes.

2022 Bids

  • Australia

Australia originally bid for the 2018 World Cup finals however they withdrew their bidding in favor of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Federal minister for sport Kate Ellis made an announcement in December 2008 that federal government is willing to give the Football Federation Australia $45.6 million to fund its World Cup bid preparation.

Though Australia may seem to be a popular contender to host the tournament, they only received one vote.

  • Japan

Japan bid to become the first Asian country to host the World Cup twice. They may not have a stadium with 80,000-seat capacity but its plan was based on a proposed 100,000-seat stadium that would have gone on to be a centerpiece of 2016 Olympics. They also pledged that if they win the bidding, they would develop technology which will make live international telecast of the event in 3D possible. If the said technology is available by that time, Japan will also broadcast the games in holographic format.

  • Qatar

Qatar is one of the two participating countries who made their bidding exclusive for 2022 World Cup only. They are bidding for the hopes of being the first Arab country to host the World Cup. Despite some concerns with Qatar’s extreme temperatures, 2022 Qatar bid chairman Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani responded by saying that they will” take the help of technology to counter the harsh weather.”

FIFA President Sepp Blatter endorsed the idea of having a World Cup in the Middle East, saying “The Arabic world deserves a World Cup. They have 22 countries and have not had any opportunity to organise the tournament.”

  • South Korea

South Korea is the other participating country who bid exclusively for the 2022 World Cup. They may not have an 80,000 capacity stadium, but they proposed to upgrade an existing venue to meet that capacity should they be selected as the host country.

  • United States

United States submitted bids for both the 2018 and 2022 Cups but they withdrew their 2018 bid in October 2010 to focus solely on the 2022 competition. The bid committee identified 70 stadiums in 50 communities as possible venues for the tournament; seven of these stadiums have at least 80,000 seating capacity.

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