The corruption laced debacle that FIFA, world football’s governing body, has descended into may just open a door to China getting its dreamed-for first World Cup. Those who follow FIFA’s Byzantine intrigues tell us that the promises of septuagenarian Sepp Blatter, newly re-elected unopposed to a fourth term as president, to investigate allegations that Qatar bought its award of the 2022 World Cup, may lead to the bidding being reopened. (Qatar strongly denies the allegations.)
Even though FIFA’s member federations as a whole, and no longer just its executive committee, are meant to make the choice of World Cup hosts in future, scuttlebutt doing the rounds of FIFA’s Swiss headquarters holds that the 2022 tournament could be taken from Qatar and switched to the USA, which is now a candidate for the 2026 Cup. That would then open the way for China to host that tournament under FIFA’s informal system of continental rotation. Whether there is any credence to this chatter, and whether the unsuccessful bidders to host “Asia’s” 2022 World Cup would demand it remained in the region and be staged by one of their number, this Bystander frankly has no idea. But in the looking-glass world of FIFA anything is possible.