The World Cup! Thirty-two teams compete in a tournament until one hoists the championship trophy, and it’s watched by over half a billion people every time.
The World Cup is being held in Qatar in November for the first time ever, as it’s usually held in the summer.
This is controversial because Qatar gets brutally hot in the summer, and the temperature is unlikely to dip below 79 degrees Fahrenheit during day matches.
Major issues with Qatar as the new host country
Including a strict ban on homosexuality and a massive population of temporary workers who operate in dangerous conditions.
Because Qatar doesn’t have a soccer infrastructure, it will cost over 200 billion dollars to build the hotels, stadiums, and other facilities needed to pull off this World Cup.
On paper, hosting the World Cup has a lot of advantages
You’ll bring in a massive tourist audience, do a lot of business in foreign trade, and need a lot of new infrastructures.
The downside of hosting the World Cup is that countries often need to go into debt to set themselves up, and the hotels and housing facilities that are built for the event will only be useful if the country sees a boost in its tourism sector after the event.
The stadiums are massive beasts that often find themselves mostly empty and degrading in the years after the World Cup, but some countries use them to host national matches anyway.
Every country faces financial challenges when they host the World Cup
They don’t get much of the money from the biggest moneymakers. FIFA, the French named Federation International de Football Association, is the international governing body for soccer.
They organize the World Cup and take most of the profits. The World Cup makes its money from ticket sales, broadcasting rights, and advertising rights at matches. The host countries try to raise money during the event through concessions sales and local tourism, but FIFA does help to pick up the tab.
A massive corruption scandal broke in 2015
As US federal prosecutors revealed a massive collusion involving several major soccer organizations to trade influence and divide up events.
Seven current FIFA officials were arrested in Switzerland on charges of receiving $150 million dollars in bribes.
FIFA’s investigation into bribery in the World Cup bid process spread around the world, and the then-current FIFA head Sepp Blatter was removed from office and barred from FIFA activities for eight years.
FIFA’s independent ethics investigator cleared Russia’s 2018 bid of any wrongdoing, but the process was still questioned.
The World Cup was awarded to Qatar after many candidates dropped out because of negatives. A whistleblower claimed that Al Jazeera offered a bribe of 100 million dollars to secure the cup, but later leaked documents refuted the $100 million price tag.
Organizing a world event has become trickier than ever before
Hosting dozens of clubs on your soil can be a balancing act, a sometimes dangerous act too.
After the 2018 World Cup in Russia, many people wanted Russia banned from sporting events, but FIFA tried to find a middle ground, but eventually decided to ban Russia from the World Cup entirely.
Qatar is having a bumpy ride getting ready to host the World Cup, with Paris and other French cities boycotting the broadcast in protest of the human rights violations taking place in Qatar.
FIFA isn’t sure who else can host the World Cup
Rich countries have learned that hosting such a big event is not worth it from another global sporting phenomenon, the World Cup.
The Olympic Games require a massive structure called an Olympic Village to be built, and the cities that host are often left deeply in debt.
FIFA and the Olympics both need willing host cities, but FIFA is trickier because it has so many members and interests.
Focusing on local issues might just save FIFA. The bids are submitted by countries, but the actual people in the city often have little say.
Some cities want to boost their profile by hosting an event, but that boost doesn’t usually last.
If a city has a huge soccer market, like Brazil or France, its stadiums will still find use after the World Cup.
The World Cup has a large infrastructure impact on cities, and NIMBYs can make building even a new apartment building a herculean task.
FIFA might need to be willing to make a little less money to get more cities and countries back in the game. Could an Olympic solution work for the World Cup?
Only a few countries have hosted the World Cup more than once
FIFA started splitting hosting duties between neighboring countries. The process of selecting host cities for the World Cup has clearly gotten out of control, with accusations of corruption spinning into international criminal conspiracy.
Qatar will likely see the same massive viewership numbers around the world as past World Cups, and FIFA will be able to find a place to host its World Cup.