Will Tidey - Please corruption, take the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar
Published: 12 May 2011 - 03:24:40
Is it just me, or have the recent allegations of bribery and corruption at FIFA wafted over you like a pungent smell you've grown to live with?
That's the thing about polluted regimes - if they're allowed to rule for long enough we slowly become numb to their odious ways. The news this week barely made me flinch, and that's as damning an indictment as there is for the flawed system that rules our game.
To bring you up to speed, we're dealing with two separate cases here - the claim by England's 2018 bid chief Lord Triesman that four FIFA officials sought bribes for their backing, and the allegations brought by the Sunday Times that Qatar paid off two FIFA officials en route to winning their comical 2022 bid.
Triesman has accused Ricardo Texeira of Brazil, the ubiquitous Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand's Worawi Makudi and Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay. All four allegedly wanted a sweetener to get behind England 2018. Most preposterously, Leoz is claimed to have asked for a knighthood.
It's a situation not even Sepp Blatter can ignore - especially with a presidential election looming in three weeks' time and his recent promise to "clean FIFA" playing out like a ridiculous parody.
Fortunately for fans of football's dark lord, Blatter's only competition as he seeks a fourth consecutive term is Mohamed Bin Hammam - who just happens to be from...Qatar.
The Qatar controversy will arguably garner the greater attention. The decision to award the 2022 World Cup to an oppressively hot desert nation, who have never before qualified for the tournament and have no football heritage to speak of, unsurprisingly sent the conspiracy theorists into overdrive.
They didn't need to think hard. The Qatari bid was built on money - a sweltering, bottomless pit of it. According to some reports, a gargantuan £25 billion will be spent on transport alone. They've even got God on the payroll, if you believe the stories about weather control systems.
The only rational conclusion to draw was that FIFA had sold its soul. Globalising the game is all very well, but if that were the argument then surely Australia should have won the bid. They've been to a World Cup, they have a few players we've heard of. You can breathe there in June.
With that in mind a small part of me can't help but hope that Qatar's bid is proved corrupt, and the 2022 World Cup is awarded elsewhere. Who said nothing good comes of corruption?
As for England's 2018 claims, it's hard to imagine a resolution if they're proved real. Russia are not about to enter a re-vote without a serious diplomatic incident, and by the time England bid again that man Blatter will be gone anyway.
Maybe when that happens FIFA can finally get the long-overdue overhaul it desperately needs. If somebody was willing to pay enough in bribes it could probably happen tomorrow.
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Will Tidey
- Will Tidey writes on sport for CNN, Eurosport-Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, amongst others. His first book, 'Life with Sir Alex', an account of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25-year reign at Manchester United, is set for release in October this year. Pre-order it now at http://tinyurl.com/6xzl62b. And follow Will on Twitter here - www.twitter.com/willtidey
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