While loudly criticizing FIFA, Britain hints at willingness to host World Cup. UK Sport Secretary John Whittingdale declared today that his country is ready and able to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“If FIFA came forward and asked us to consider hosting it, we have the facilities in this country.” said Mr. Whittingdale in the House of Commons. “In terms of the decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, that is obviously something which we are watching, but at the moment that decision stands.”
In December, 2010, Qatar won the right to host the 2022 tournament, beating out Australia, Japan, the United States and South Korea.
Since the scandal broke out Britain has sharply criticized FIFA’s governing body. Last week Whittingdale said that “a change in the leadership of FIFA leadership is very badly needed,” and on Wednesday former national team captain David Beckham slammed FIFA’s failings as ‘despicable.’
Switzerland and the United states are now investigating allegations around the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 events. Russia and Qatar, the respective winners, deny any wrongdoing in their bids.
Although there is no hard evidence that Qatar will lose the right to host the Cup, there are rumors that some countries are ready to enter the rebid.
Besides Britain, there are rumors that Australia and the United States will enter the rebidding process. Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said on Wednesday that if Qatar loses the 2022 World Cup he expects the event will be hosted by either Australia or the United States. So far there has been no announcement of a rebid.
Qatar says it will not lose the 2022 event. Qatar's Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah said on Wednesday there is “no way” his country would be stripped off its hosting rights. Qatar is the first Middle Eastern country to have been selected to host the World Cup. The country has already started building the infrastructure to host the event.
But Britain’s government feels otherwise. “If there is evidence that the bid process was corrupt then I think the case for re-running it is very strong,” Sport Secretary Whittingdale told the parliament today. In the meanwhile, Britain is going to wait for the outcome of the investigations.