From most fan’s perspectives, FIFA is not moving fast enough on Qatar, but today’s news from England serves as a reminder. Soccer’s world governing body must not only move deliberately but fairly in assessing of the 2022 World Cup host nation, a sad reality considering the expected mortality rate for those working on the event’s infrastructure. Without that process, the controversial hosts could have recourse in court.
According to the BBC, organizers from Qatar are considering legal action should its hosting privileges come up for a re-vote. With FIFA’s president, vice president, and UEFA’s head all expressing varying levels of concern about the 2022 event, momentum is already building toward that end, but in a case that’s likely to be filed in Switzerland, Qatar could force FIFA to show more than uncertainty and speculation caused the process to be re-opened.
Most crucially, perhaps, will be whether a re-vote can even happen without leaving FIFA exposed, all of which depends on the exact legal commitment the body’s made to the host nation. Even if it can authorize a re-vote, the organization may still have to justify its decisions to a judge.
From the BBC:
Qatari officials are believed to be considering all options open to them, including possible legal action, if the vote for the 2022 World Cup is re-run …
Qatari officials claim more than £23bn of investment linked to the 2022 World Cup would be under threat if Fifa, football’s world governing body, strips the Gulf state of its right to stage the showpiece event.
If there’s any question why FIFA, in the face of so much controversy, seems to be acting slowly, this scenario is the answer. Before the governing body acts to move 2022, it needs to solidify its case. It needs to have more than suspicions from fans and questions about timing and temperature. With the organization having already voted to committed to Qatar, it will may need to have a solid case before breaking that agreement.
Thankfully for those who want the World Cup moved, FIFA has a number of years to get this done. If the body isn’t snapping to attention whenever the Times of London publishes something, it’s because the papers aren’t where this battle will be waged. FIFA may eventually need to make its case to a judge.