The FIFA World Cup is one of the most prestigious events in global sports. Held every four years, it is an enormously important event for countries worldwide that hope to be selected as a host nation.
Since its inception in 1904, FIFA has been the steward of international football (soccer), organizing tournaments and setting rules for the sport. However, recent revelations about corruption within FIFA have called into question the organization’s ability to hold fair and impartial competitions.
From 1978 until 1998, FIFA’s executive committee was responsible for choosing host nations. This group consisted of 24 powerful men, many with close ties to FIFA and international politics.
Allegations that bidding nations were bribing members of this executive committee became rampant in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Revelations that members of FIFA accepted bribes in exchange for awarding World Cup hosting rights raise serious questions about how corrupted this process has become.
The bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were mired in allegations of bribery and conspiracy among bids. Russia was awarded the right to host the 2018 World Cup, despite evidence that their bid may have been illegitimate.
In December 2010, FIFA announced that the Qatar 2022 World Cup would be held in the Arab country. The decision was controversial since Qatar is a very small and relatively emerging nation with little footballing tradition.
Some critics alleged that FIFA had selected Qatar to curry favor with wealthy Gulf nations, while others argued that it was simply an attempt to expand soccer’s global appeal.
In recent decades, allegations of bribery and corruption have clouded the process by which locations are chosen for the World Cup tournament.
In May 2015, criminal investigations were opened into the organization, which marked a new stage in the long-running allegations of bribery and corruption that have long dogged FIFA. The aftermath of such probes can destabilize FIFA and undermine the integrity of the entire World Cup competition.