With FIFA’s imminent decision to change the 2022 World Cup to the winter to avoid Qatar’s scorching hot summer, Australia took exception.
Their failed bid for the event garnered just a single vote, but they fired an angry shot to the world football governing body asking for $43 million in compensation – the amount they spent on the bid.
A statement on the official website of the Football Federation of Australia said FIFA should consider “An in-principle decision that just and fair compensation should be paid to those nations that invested many millions, and national prestige, in bidding for a summer event”.
One of those nations was the United States, which made it to the final round of voting before losing the highly controversial selection to Qatar.
“My fear is that Fifa could make a bad situation worse by hastily changing one of the most significant and controversial decisions it’s ever taken,” said FFA chairman Frank Lowy. “Australia, like the other bidding nations, was required by Fifa’s own rules to pitch for a World Cup in the June and July window. Changing the dates is tantamount to changing the rules after the contest is over. If that happens, compensation should be paid to those nations that invested many millions, and national prestige, in bidding for a summer event.”
A FIFA spokesperson hit back, saying, “As part of the bidding documents all bidders, including the FA Australia, accepted that the format and dates of the staging of the Fifa World Cup and Fifa Confederations Cup, though initially expected to be in June/July, remains subject to the final decision of the Fifa Organising Committee,” she said. “There is no ground for any speculations.”
Not only is the decision angering the FFA, but it has stirred many others to their boiling points, both publicly and privately.
The Premier League made their exceptions public by blasting FIFA for moving the event, saying “The prospect of a winter World Cup is neither workable nor desirable for European domestic football” and proposing FIFA reopen the bid to select a different location.
In addition, the Guardian reports that Fox, which bought the broadcasting rights to the 2022 World Cup for about $1 billion, are furious with the decision as well. The move could conflict with other rights Fox has purchased, among other complications.