THE BLOG

Fifa Feeling the Heat Over Qatar World Cup Decision?

28/03/2014 17:15 GMT | Updated 28/05/2014 10:59 BST

Another day, another predictable public relations disaster for FIFA.

With this summer's World Cup now just a matter of months away, and Brazil's preparations still lagging alarmingly behind schedule, the governing body has hardly covered itself in glory of late.

But, incredibly, things have taken an even more uninspiring turn for the organisation this week.

Former Vice President, Jack Warner, has become the subject of fresh allegations of bribery and corruption - specifically around the somewhat surprising decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Of course, Warner, who has since quit his role within FIFA and is now a politician in his native Trinidad, has quickly moved to deny those claims, insisting that there is a growing witch hunt against the selection of the Arab country as a venue.

Claims of underhand tactics, lies and cheating have long been a thorn in the side of the organisation, and it is certainly not for me to comment on the finer details of those accusations against Warner.

But in many ways, I do agree that Qatar has been on the receiving end of some very undeserved flack since the decision was announced back in late 2010.

There is no doubt that their selection to host the biggest competition in the world was one which will have huge implications on the whole of world football - not least because the tournament will most likely need to be shifted to the winter months because of the overwhelming heat of the long Arabian summer.

For most European countries, that is, at best, an inconvenient, and at worst, an unacceptable, prospect.

Such is the financial worth of continental competition in modern day football, that the notion of slicing and skewing the Champions League calendar is one which fills the elite clubs and Football Associations with dread.

But that doesn't make Qatar any less deserving of the opportunity to host such a magnificent and prestigious trophy.

I spend much of my time in the Middle East, and with many close friends and contacts from the area, I have experienced first hand just how excited they are to have been selected.

The passion towards the game in that part of the world is nothing short of incredible - and many Arab football fans support not only a Premier League side, but a La Liga club, and, naturally, one from their own domestic league.

And unlike the current volatile situation in Brazil, there will be no resentment towards the competition, whatever it costs to implement the necessary infrastructure.

If anyone can afford to put on a truly epic extravaganza, it's the Arabs.

As such, I feel that it is a real shame that their celebrations have so far been largely dampened by constant accusations of cheating, bribery and lies.

Today, we live in a real blame culture - more than ever before, in fact. The bottom line is that much of the criticism towards FIFA stems from the fact that the current selection process is so fundamentally flawed.

It's actually rather laughable that the biggest governing body in football is still operating in such a bumbling and unprofessional manner.

Indeed, such a pantomime is the bidding process, that a series of both expensive and time-consuming failed bids have left many major nations feeling both bitter and cynical towards the whole World Cup experience.

None more so than the Three Lions - and on these shores, football supporters have made a habit of feeling particularly hard done to by Sepp Blatter and co.

But that resentment is certainly not restricted to the English national game, and disillusionment is growing across the continent.

At this stage, I believe that if FIFA is to begin rebuilding the broken trust of the rest of world football, it desperately needs to implement a complete overhaul of the current system.

For starters, there is no regulation in the process at the moment. Of course, this cloak and dagger approach is always likely to lead to sour grapes and accusations of foul play.

Blatter, for his part, has put together an Ethics Committee to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by FIFA executives - but, bizarrely, the head of that group, a former FBI agent called Michael Garcia, has even uncovered during his research an inside plot to have him removed.

That underlines just how against the idea of openness and

Within the last decade, the International Olympic Committee was forced to completely change the way that bids for the Olympic Games were assessed and voted for following emerging evidence that members were bribed to support Salt Lake City as the choice for the 2002 Winter Games.

And I believe that a major sea change is on the horizon in football, too.

Indeed, in my opinion, FIFA would be much wiser to ditch the current, overblown parades - and take influence from UEFA's method of choosing the Champions League Final venue.

Instead of the big budget, balls out World Cup bids that have been allowed, and even encouraged in recent years, the governing body needs to put together an independent and informed Executive Committee, who are able to make a more reasoned and low key decision on where to place the tournament.

I believe that it can only be a positive move to spread the influence of the World Cup to as many places as possible, in each and every corner of the globe.

After all, the tournament is exactly what it says on the tin. It belongs to the world.

Let's face it, with kick-off just a matter of months away, Brazil is hardly yet prepared to handle the tournament - and I don't for one minute think that Qatar will be as lackadaisical in their approach to hosting the competition as the South Americans.

With the commitment that they have shown towards the sport in recent years, not to mention the English game, why shouldn't the Arabs be given the chance to experience the true magic of the competition, for the first time in their history?

Look at the influence of Sheik Mansour at Manchester City. Without his unflinching support (not to mention hefty bank balance), the Etihad Stadium side would almost certainly not find themselves in their current position, at the forefront of world football.

But, ultimately, this is just one of a number of key issues which FIFA has made a habit of making a real hash of - and there is a sense that the football world is very quickly running out of patience with the organisation.

Indeed, there has even been talk of a possible breakaway from the governing body, a revolution similar to that seen in Boxing and Snooker - and, truth be told, I don't think that Sepp Blatter has ever been more unpopular.

The FIFA President has assumed the role of poster boy for everything wrong with modern day football - from corruption and cheating, to a lack of action on racism within the game - and it is only a matter of time before the sport gets tired of hearing the same old propaganda.