FIFA has asked USA Soccer to prepare an organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup in anticipation of Qatar potentially losing its bid, reports Jorge Ramos of ESPN. Back in 2010, the United States finished second to Qatar in a bidding process that was shadowed by rumors of corruption and bribery.
With the decision to select Qatar appearing questionable from the beginning, recent revelations have only underscored the issues with holding the event there.
Not only is the Middle East exceptionally hot during the summer months when the World Cup is typically held, but Qatar has a long history of human rights violations, which has continued during construction of facilities for the games.
As reports of bribery and corruption surrounding how Qatar received the bid in the first price have become widespread, and the body count in the country steadily rises among migrant workers, it’s become increasingly difficult for FIFA and its partners to ignore the public outcry.
Last month, FIFA president Sepp Blatter admitted to The Guardian that awarding Qatar the World Cup was “a mistake,” but didn’t indicate whether the organization would take action.
However, appointing the United States as the alternative should Qatar lose its bid in a re-vote seems to be the first step towards actually re-considering the 2022 host country.
And in many ways, USA makes sense for 2022.
Not only did the country finish second in the original bidding process four years ago, but few countries in the world boast as many world-class athletic facilities as the United States.
Between the country’s many football, soccer and baseball stadiums, hosting the event in eight years likely wouldn’t require nearly as much work and money as it would in other countries. As we’ve seen in Qatar and Brazil, a lack of established infrastructure can really complicate matters.
This is still quite early in the process, however, so it’s unclear whether FIFA will actually be making any changes. Qatar remains the host of the 2022 World Cup for now, but yes, it appears we have our alternative. It’s the USA.
UPDATE: Sunil Guati, president of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), has denied the report.
Literally just spoke to Gulati, who was completely surprised by report. “Simply not true,” he told @nytimes.
— Sam Borden (@SamBorden) June 12, 2014