Signals emanating from the FIFA Executive Committee by way of members speaking out, suggests the event will be moved from Qatar due to “health concerns”.
While this declaration should not be taken as an official decision, it does highlight the internal tussle over what many have termed “a grave error” when the rights to host the 2022 world cup was awarded to Qatar.
One of the major concerns associated with Qatar is the timing of the event (held during the summer) and how the weather will affect the successful hosting of the event. On average, temperatures in Qatar during the summer hovers between 90F to 100F. This not only poses a health risk to players on the pitch but to the thousands of tourists who usually flock to the event. While oil rich Qatar may have the resources to provide cooling facilities for stadiums, training facilities and fan zones, the world cup experience goes beyond venues.
But the elephant in the room (which no one wants to publicly highlight) is security (or lack of) in the region. In the past months, the rise of an Islamic state and the graphic execution of foreign nationals by extremists is a worrying trend. With thousands of tourists roaming the streets of Qatar during the tournament, it is virtually impossible to monitor the movements of everyone in order to prevent kidnappings. This, in my opinion is the greatest problem facing the world cup and FIFA knows that this could scare away tourists and indirectly affect its bottom line.
When the hosting rights for the world cup was awarded to Qatar, I applauded the decision because I felt that every continent in the world should be given the privilege of showing the world on a grand stage what it has to offer. But following the recent developments in the Middle-east, FIFA should correct this mistake and withdraw the rights for the tournament.