FIFA gave Fox the World Cup rights so they wouldn’t get sued


FIFA picked up third World Cup option for Fox so the network wouldn’t sue them

Here comes another gem from the files of “Everything About Giving Qatar the 2022 World Cup Has Been a Complete Success, Vol. 2.”

FIFA recently picked up an option on its contract with Fox for the 2026 World Cup. It was an odd move that surprised many, as Fox has yet to air even a single soccer game as part of this deal, not to mention that we’re talking about an event that’s more than 11 years away.

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So why pick up the option now? According to a New York Times, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke admitted that the move was made out of fear that Fox would sue the soccer governing body over moving the 2022 World Cup from summer to winter.

2022’s World Cup was awarded to Qatar under highly suspicious circumstances (bribery has been mentioned on numerous occasions), and recently decided to move the cup to winter for that year due to the incredibly harsh summers in the Asian country. The move breaks one of the key promises of Qatar’s 2010 bid.

FIFA was afraid that Fox would decide to sue over losing its accustomed June/July time frame for the World Cup, and preemptively decided to exercise the 2026 option as a sort of peace offering with the network.

The move to winter has outraged professional teams across the world, as the World Cup will now run in direct conflict with the schedules for most major leagues, who will now lose months of revenue, as the players need time off not just for the event, but for preparation with the national teams.

While the move will help in terms of fans and players at the 2022 cup not having to endure the harsh conditions, there are still a million problems with the Qatar cup–problems much more important than TV rights or conflicting schedules. The International Trade Union Confederation reports that 1,200 migrant workers from Nepal and India died in Qatar between December 2010 and March 2014, and estimates that as many as 4,000 could die preparing the facilities for the World Cup. The Guardian did a profile on how the facilities are being built; all you need to know to understand the conditions is that the phrase “modern-day slavery” was used.

So enjoy those (alleged) bribes, FIFA. I’m sure it was all worth it.

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