A partial collapse of a stadium in Brazil in preparation for the 2014 World Cup is just the latest problem FIFA has regarding its future World Cup hosts. The problems aren’t centralized in Brazil; there have also been issues in Russia, who will host the 2018 World Cup, and Qatar, who will host the 2022 World Cup. The underlying issue is that FIFA has allowed untrustworthy and unreliable nations to gain the hosting rights to the World Cup, a trend that needs to be stopped, and possibly fixed prior to the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
Even before the tragedy at the stadium in San Paolo that caused the death of three construction workers, Brazil had issues leading up to next summer’s tournament. Construction is behind schedule on multiple stadiums, and that’s on top of the protests that took place during the 2013 Confederations Cup last summer that not only threatened the safety of players and fans, but also took attention away from the playing field in a negative way and could possibly come back next summer.
Russia has been the sight of racially charged abuse of players within the past couple of months, creating a huge issue for FIFA. To its credit, FIFA has done a lot to combat racism, but there’s only so much they can do prevent large factions of racist and homophobic fans in Russia from ruining the World Cup atmosphere. It’s quite risky to promise a World Cup to such a country, and to a certain extent, FIFA is tempting fate by doing so.
Finally, there is Qatar, who has a world of issues pertaining to its duties as host in 2022. Aside from brutally hot temperatures in Qatar during the summer time that will make playing conditions unbearable for the athletes, there have also been reports of abuse directed at the workers building the stadiums in anticipation of the tournament, a major scandal for Qatar and FIFA to deal with.
FIFA has allowed these countries to become World Cup hosts in an effort to further expand the game worldwide. However, soccer is already the most popular sport in the world, and doesn’t need to play its biggest and most important tournament in nations that are plagued with such serious issues that can threaten integrity of the tournament. FIFA doesn’t need to be taking risks like this to expand a game that already has global reach.
Instead of taking chances on countries that have issues that could potentially derail the World Cup in the years to come, FIFA needs to keep things simple. They need to play it smart and limit the number of countries that receive consideration to host the World Cup.
The list of potential hosts should be limited to the United States, a handful of countries in Western Europe, and the Asian countries of Japan and South Korea. All of those are safe and dependable countries that FIFA can count on to be quality hosts, and the sooner they can get the World Cup back on safe ground, the better.
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.
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