User:Kath St. Laurent/Qatar's slick goal

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Audio and Visual Presentation: Go to http://www.archive.org/details/QatarsSlickGoalBps2011 and click Qatar's Slick Goal BPS2011 under "Movie Files"

On 02 December 2010, the small oil rich nation of Qatar scored the biggest goal that any Middle-Eastern country has ever achieved: hosting the FIFA World Cup. Once the public, and some contend private, political and business deals were sealed, Qatar won the bidding match and was given the honour of hosting the World Cup in 2022.

How did a country with little to no infrastructure in place to support the world’s most prestigious soccer event get chosen over other countries, for all intents and purposes, seemingly more qualified? Was there foul play in FIFA’s decision? Much controversy has arisen as to why Qatar got the nod over such countries as Australia and the USA who already have the local and national infrastructure and experience in hosting global events.

What made these western nations, apparent front runners for the 2022 World Cup, become offside in FIFA’s eyes? More to the point, what did Qatar do to ensure it remained onside to score the winning decision?

This paper will explore the controversial decision from a local, national and global business and political perspective. Firstly, it will address FIFA’s criteria for hosting a World Cup and how Qatar, Australia and the USA matched up against these. Next, it will examine the business and political gains hosting a World Cup can generate in local, national and international areas for both the host nation and for FIFA. Finally, it will conclude whether or not the political and financial benefits of Qatar hosting the World Cup should result in turning a blind eye toward the alleged corruption and dishonesty within FIFA for the 2022 World Cup.

Introduction[edit]

On 02 December 2010, the small natural gas rich nation of Qatar scored the biggest goal that any Middle-Eastern country has ever achieved: hosting the FIFA World Cup. Once the public, and some contend private, political and business deals were sealed, Qatar won the bidding match and was given the honour of hosting the World Cup in 2022.

How did a country with little to no infrastructure in place to support the world’s most prestigious soccer event get chosen over other countries, for all intents and purposes, seemingly more qualified? Was there foul play in FIFA’s decision? Much controversy has arisen as to why Qatar got the nod over such countries as Australia and the USA who already have the local and national infrastructure and experience in hosting global events.

What made these western nations, apparent front runners for the 2022 World Cup, become offside in FIFA’s eyes? More to the point, what did Qatar do to ensure it remained onside to score the winning decision?

This paper will explore the controversial decision from a local, national and global business and political perspective. Firstly, it will address FIFA’s criteria for hosting a World Cup and how Qatar, Australia and the USA matched up against these. Next, it will examine the business and political gains hosting a World Cup can generate in local, national and international areas for both the host nation and for FIFA. Finally, it will conclude whether or not the political and financial benefits of Qatar hosting the World Cup should result in turning a blind eye toward the alleged corruption and dishonesty within FIFA for the 2022 World Cup.

History[edit]

Founded in 1904 as the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in Paris, France, the governing body for association football (soccer) was created as an administrative organisation that would assist with the development of the game on an international level [1]www.soccer-academy.net, 2011]). Its founding president, Jules Rimet, for whom the trophy for the FIFA World CupTM is named, envisioned an international soccer competition based on the principles of ‘reinforcing the ideals of a permanent and real peace’ ([2]www.world-cup-info.com, 2011) that involved all of the National Associations who were members of FIFA (e.g. The Football Association (England), French Football Federation, Royal Belgian Football Association, etc.). Indeed, even today, FIFA’s slogan is: ‘For the Game. For the World.’

Rimet’s vision of international peace through soccer was set in motion with the first World CupTM soccer competition held in 1930 in Montevideo, Uruguay. Although the majority of participating countries were from Europe, the decision to host the inaugural World CupTM in Uruguay was based upon the country’s exceptional performance and gold medal wins in soccer at both the 1924 Paris and 1928 Amsterdam Olympics ([3]www.world-cup-info.com, 2011). Riding the coattails of the Olympic Games’ reputation for instilling peace through sport was smart political thinking on the part of FIFA and helped to generate support from the member associations.

In the early days of the FIFA World CupTM, international travel was done via ship and could take up to three months to get from South America to Europe, depending on where the competition was held. Because of this, FIFA’s initial intent was to alternate the World CupTM between Europe and the Americas.

The 1934 and 1938 World CupTM competitions were both held in Europe. The decision to hold the second of these in France was disputed, as the American countries were of the understanding that the location would alternate between the two continents. Both Argentina and Uruguay thus boycotted the 1938 FIFA World CupTM (Wikipedia, 2011).

In 1958, so as to avoid future boycotts, FIFA returned to its initial rotation of holding the competition between Europe and the Americas. This pattern held true until the 2002 and 2010 World CupTM competitions which were held in Asia and Africa respectively, and whose location were determined by the FIFA Executive Committee after initiating a bidding process and determining a winner using an exhaustive ballot system of voting (Wikipedia,2011).


Bidding Criteria[edit]

While FIFA’s primary objective is still to promote peace, ‘educational, cultural and humanitarian values’ ([4]www.fifa.com, 2011) through soccer, its selection criteria for determining a host nation has evolved quite drastically. FIFA now sends out an invitation to bid to its member associations in which it delineates the selection criteria. ‘At this stage of the bidding process, FIFA would like to emphasise that the infrastructure and facilities in the host country must be of the highest quality... Approximately 12 stadiums with minimum capacities of between 40,000 for group matches and 80,000 for the opening match and final are required...’ ([5]www.fifa.com, 2011).

There has been much controversy over the selection of Qatar for the 2022, especially here in Australia, as Qatar did not even meet FIFA’s first selection criteria for infrastructure. At the time of their bid, Qatar had only 10 stadiums fit for soccer use, averaging seating for only just under 22,000; the smallest holding only 5,000 and the largest having a capacity to seat 50,000 ([6]www.dw-world.de, 2011; [7]www.worldstadiums.com, 2011). This obviously fell well short of FIFA’s criteria.

Not only did Qatar’s existing soccer infrastructure not meet the bidding criteria, other concerns about Qatar hosting the world’s biggest soccer event soon came to light. The FIFA World CupTM is traditionally held during the months of June and July – the off season for professional soccer in most countries. For Qatar, designated a ‘subtropical dry, hot desert climate’ ([8]www.weatheronline.co, 2011), temperatures can reach well above 40o C during these months. Apprehension for the athletes’ health and safety during match play in temperatures such as this were soon voiced as a concern, especially for clubs who pay millions of dollars for top players such as Barcelona and Argentinean international star Lionel Messi.

In comparison, Australia and the United States of America (USA), who were also bidding for the right to host the 2022 FIFA World CupTM, already had more than enough stadiums to meet FIFA’s seating criteria. The USA were already veterans in hosting both the FIFA World CupTM for men’s soccer in 1994 ,and for women’s soccer in both 1999 and 2003. Of note, the 2003 World CupTM (women’s) was a last minute venue change due to an outbreak of the SARS epidemic in China, who were the original host nation.

Should Australia have been chosen to host the World CupTM, it would have done so during its winter. This, however, did not pose a problem for hosting the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, which were held at the end of the Australian winter. Australia was also well versed in hosting an international team sport competition with its experience gained in the 2003 World Cup for rugby union football.

FIFA’s bidding criteria also required that the host country have ‘the very highest standards of TV broadcasting, information and communication telecommunications technology, transport and accommodation...’ ([9]www.fifa.com, 2011). FIFA stipulated that these criteria were to be ‘an absolute must’. Once again, Qatar, at the time of its bid, fell way short of these benchmarks whereas both Australia and the USA hit the mark.

For all intents and purposes, both Australia and the USA seemed extremely qualified, given FIFA’s selection criteria and their previous experience in staging global sporting events, to host the 2022 World CupTM. What went wrong for Australia and the USA, or more importantly, what went right for Qatar?

Business and Political Gains[edit]

Qatar, nor the USA and Australia for that matter, is struggling financially as a country. Alarbiya.net and the International Monetary Fund list Qatar as the world’s richest country per-capita (population 1.7 million), with an economic growth projected to be 15.8 percent. The estimated growth for its gross domestic product is 16.2 percent by the end of 2010 ([10]www.alarabiya.net, 2010; [11]www.time.com, 2011).

Qatar’s wealth stems from its natural gas resources, the third largest in the world ([12]www.alarabiya.net, 2010). This has given Qatar a seemingly endless cash flow to support its ever increasing interest in sport, to include Formula One racing, golf and athletics.

Gulf States such as Qatar use sport as a means of diplomacy. This might be due to the fact that the region’s political reputation as a whole is somewhat dubious in the eyes of the Western, non-Arabic world. Purchasing sponsorship in top flight soccer leagues such as Germany’s Bundesliga or the English Premier League allows Gulf State Leaders to obtain respectability as heads of state ([13]www.time.com, 2011).

How far will Qatar go to earn respectability on a global level? Over the next five years, it will spend $225 billion USD, or over 40 percent of its national budget, on improvements to its infrastructure ([14]www.propertywire.com, 2011). This includes money allocated for new and improved roads, a new international airport and deepwater seaport, hotels, and new soccer arenas that meet FIFA hosting standards ([15]www.time.com, 2011). One can surmise that the increase in spending will positively influence the employment rate and assist local and national businesses. It will then re-emerge on an international level with an influx in global tourism.

It can be argued that the estimated $65 billion USD Qatar is spending ([16]www.alarabiya.net, 2010) on its preparations for the World CupTM can be invested in other areas of its infrastructure with a greater return for the general public; however, Qatar’s ambition to be at the forefront of world sporting events is reaching epic proportions and drawing the attention of international businesses, specifically those experienced in development and construction.

For example, Mercury Engineering, an Irish mechanical and electrical engineering company, developed the zero-emission cooling system built for the Doha 2022 Showcase Stadium and shown to FIFA executives ([17]www.propertywire.com, 2011). This system helped convince FIFA that the 40C plus heat Qatar typically has during summer could be dealt with.

Not only has the prospect of hosting the World CupTM brought Qatar technological clout, it will also aid to further promote Qatar as a positive role model within the Middle East region. Qatar is often viewed as regional mediator and catalyst for change ([18]www.alarabiya.net, 2010). With all the sweeping political changes occurring in the region, Qatar seems poised to stand as its crowning jewel.

Being labelled as a cheat would undoubtedly strike a blow to the morale of Qatar and further bring mistrust to the region in the eyes of the West.

Business Ethics[edit]

Whether or not Qatar, or any other country bidding for the right to host the World CupTM, played dirty is actually irrelevant as compared to how FIFA allegedly conducted itself. FIFA has certainly come a long way from the administrative organisation founded to standardise and develop the game on a global level. It has taken ‘development’ to a whole new level and indirectly purports itself as a vehicle for political change.

Despite its Swiss registration as a non-profit organisation, there is no denying that FIFA relies heavily on the big business of capitalism. Complete with its own Marketing, Television (TV) and Media Departments, the FIFA brand has truly reached an international business status on par with other global giants like Coca-Cola, Adidas, McDonald’s, Hyundai and Sony – all of whom also happen to be part of the FIFA ‘sponsorship family’ ([19]www.fifa.com, 2011). Broadcasting rights for the 2010 World CupTM in South Africa took in a profit of 1.6 billion Euros, with similar numbers brought in by their Marketing department ([20]www.dw-world.de, 2011).

But does FIFA, the non-profit organisation, need to adhere to business ethics that other international companies do, or any business ethics at all for that matter? The logical answer would be yes as, despite its non-profit status it is still, in the true definition of the word, a business.

FIFA is now a global business pulling in millions of dollars whilst key members of his staff have been accused of corruption leading up to and during the bidding and voting process for the 2022 World CupTM.

The United Nations (UN) established Global Compact Principles for businesses to follow. In 2005, it added a tenth principle addressing corruption, such as misusing appointed power for personal financial or non-financial gain and bribery, and the need for business communities to take responsibility and work with governments in mitigating it (Bitanga and Bridwell, 2010).

While it certainly can be argued that good ethical practices are expected from countries, or more specifically the leaders who run those countries, this has been shown time and again to not be the case where large amounts of money and/or clout is at stake. The same can be said for big business.

Good ethical practices should contain the following: 1) honest handling of actual or apparent conflicts of interest 2) accurate disclosure 3) compliance with applicable laws and regulations (Michael, 2006). Most businesses, including FIFA, have a code of ethics set in place as rules are most influential when they cause people to behave differently than they would have if no rules were present (Milgram, 1974).

Conclusion[edit]

The lapse in ethical values for Qatar in ‘buying’ respectability is of course a concern. Despite the rules and guidelines that were in place (e.g. UN Global Compact Principles), and FIFA’s investigation into foul play within its organisation that named two of its own guilty of unethical practices, this does not mean that rules should be tossed out. Rules have and will continue to provide guidelines for conduct.

Most often, the right thing to do ethically is also the right thing to do politically and economically. Business decisions are often more than two dimensional (i.e. ‘right or wrong’). FIFA’s decision to have Qatar host the world’s most prestigious tournament was made based on its creed to develop the game ‘for the world’.

While Qatar didn’t need to host the World CupTM for financial purposes, hosting the event has brought prestige to a region long short of it, especially after the events of 9/11. The road taken by FIFA to get to its decision might have been marred by corruption, but the end may very well justify the means if the Qatar World CupTM 2022 is played without incident.


Reference List[edit]

Bitanga, J. and Bridwell, L (2010). Corporate Social Responsibility and the United Nations Global Compact. Competition Forum. 8(2), pp.265-269.

Michael L. Michael (2006, March). Business Ethics: The Law Rules. (Working Paper No. 19). Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Stanley Milgram (1974). Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. 1st. ed. New York: Harper and Row.

Wikipedia (2011). FIFA World Cup [online]. [Accessed 13 September 2011]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIFA_World_Cup#Selection_process.

www.alarabiya.net [online]. (2010) [Accessed 16 September 2011]. Available from: http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/06/02/151471.html.

www.dw-world.de [online]. (2011) [Accessed 16 September 2011]. Available from: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5774498,00.html.

www.fifa.com [online]. (2011) [Accessed 13 September 2011]. Available from: http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/generic/01/48/60/05/fifastatuten2011_e.pdf.

www.fifa.com [online]. (2011) [Accessed 13 September 2011]. Available from: http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/organisation/mission.html).

www.fifa.com [online]. (2011) [Accessed 14 September 2011]. Available from: http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/99/74/80/20182022invitationtobidcirculare.pdf.

www.propertywire.com [online]. (2011) [Accessed 18 September 2011]. Available from: http://www.propertywire.com/news/middle-east/qatar-construction-sector-outlook-201012074749.html.

www.soccer-academy.net [online]. (2011) [Accessed 13 September 2011]. Available from: http://www.soccer-academy.net/fifa-history.html.

www.time.com [online]. (2011) [Accessed 21 September 2011]. Available from: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2080062,00.html.

www.weatheronline.co [online]. (2011) [Accessed 21 September 2011]. Available from: http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/climate/Qatar.htm.

www.world-cup-info.com [online]. (2011) [Accessed 13 September 2011]. Available from: <http://www.world-cup-info.com/history.htm>.

www.worldstadiums.com [online]. (2011) [Accessed 18 September 2011]. Available from: http://www.worldstadiums.com/middle_east/countries/qatar.shtml.