There is no doubt among soccer fans that giving the tiny nation of Qatar the privilege of hosting the 2022 World Cup was a huge mistake by FIFA. Sepp Blatter‘s half-baked idea to move the tournament to winter to avoid the brutal summer heat in Qatar is not enough, and FIFA desperately needs to find a different nation, preferably a more traditional soccer nation, to host the World Cup.
It was a mistake promising the 2022 World Cup to Qatar to begin with, and now FIFA needs to find a way out of that commitment. There is no substitution for the honor of hosting a World Cup, so FIFA must negotiate with Qatar and find something that will appease them in exchange for giving up the World Cup.
My opening offer would be to allow Qatar to host the next two Asian Confederation tournaments and give Qatar’s national team a free pass to the final group stage of Asian World Cup Qualifying for the next three World Cups. That’s just my opening offer, the two sides can negotiate from there; there has to be something Qatar would accept in exchange for not hosting the World Cup in 2022.
No, it’s not the most moral solution to the problem, but no one ever accused soccer of being the most moral sport, or FIFA of being the most moral organization. It doesn’t appear as if FIFA can just say that they made a mistake and take away the World Cup from Qatar, but they can negotiate with Qatar for the right to move the 2022 World Cup to another location. It wouldn’t be great for public relations, but it would be best for the sport and for the tournament itself; above all else, FIFA can’t allow the World Cup to happen in Qatar.
Short of a coup to remove Blatter from power, this may be FIFA’s only hope to get itself out of its deal with Qatar. If all else fails, fans may want to put together a petition imploring FIFA to move the tournament. Imagine if all of Europe and half the Western Hemisphere put their names on a sheet of paper, FIFA would have to do something to get out of Qatar in 2022, right?
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.