Fink: FIFA must hold itself to account

ESPNSTAR.com columnist Jesse Fink urges FIFA to stand up and face their decision for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Football News: Qatar 2022

"EXCLUSIVE" trumpets another website on football politics. "FIFA regulations could rule out a Qatar 2022 winter World Cup."

Continued the story published on October 30, 2012: "The global clamour for the 2022 World Cup to be switched to winter to avoid Qatar's stifling desert heat could be scuppered - by FIFA's own regulations.

"Any such move by FIFA could lead to a possible legal backlash from Qatar's beaten 2022 rivals including the United States, the pre-ballot favourites, and Australia, who received only one vote.

"The original bid registration tender documents, which ran to 66 pages and covered both the 2018 World Cup ballot, won emphatically by Russia, and the 2022 competition, expressly requested all bidding candidates to stage the tournament at the traditional time in June and/or July."

Well, blow me down.

Your columnist wrote a story called "The World Cup Goes to Court" on January 14, 2011 (that's right, nearly two years ago!) warning of the same clauses in the tender documents and the likelihood of legal action by the United States and Australia if Qatar 2022 switched to the Arabian winter months.

Everything old is new again.

Doesn't change the sad reality, though, that the closer we get to 2022 the more it appears all those state-of-the-art cooling technologies promised in the bidding presentations and Blade Runner-like artist's renderings of stadia and fan parks are a mirage.

Come the 2022 World Cup, whatever gets built in Doha, it's still going to be bloody hot.

FIFA, goes the rumour mill, is trying to find something, anything, they can pin on the Qataris.

Conspiracy theorists, too, will see the Mohamed Bin Hammam case (the Qatari native and exiled Asian Football Confederation president just copped another arbitrary suspension) being dragged out as evidence that the world body's investigators are looking to find their smoking gun in the welter of claim and counterclaim stemming from the toxic 2011 FIFA presidential election.

Almost as dragged out as the inevitable court case will be if FIFA tries to strip the World Cup off the Middle East.

The sheikhs' bottomless pockets would ensure a mighty fight.

The fallout, too, on Arab investment in European football would be frightening to contemplate.

It's not an outcome anyone wants to entertain.

So FIFA should give up now. Deal with the fact it went against all good sense, bucked fan sentiment and indulged in wilful fantasy with the decision to grant 2022 to Qatar and do whatever it takes to help ensure the organisers deliver on their promises.

Whatever unfolds in 2022, it is not on the heads of Hassan Al Thawadi and the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee. It is on the heads of Sepp Blatter and the FIFA executive committee that gave them the World Cup in the first place.

The hard work and the support, not more retribution, must start now.



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