The dust is just beginning to settle on a week that could forever change the footballing world. The decisions to send the 2018 and 2022 World Cup’s to Russia and Qatar has left a sour taste amongst all the unsuccessful bidders. But was FIFA’s snubbing of bids from England and the USA all part of a contingency conspiracy theory?
Speculation is starting to mount that FIFA declined proposals from England and the USA, in a bid to ensure the two countries with the most impressive footballing infrastructure could be free to host a tournament if one of the upcoming hosts fails to live up to the promises in their bid.
Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore has added further fuel to the rumours. Speaking after learning the true extent of England’s failure in the bidding process, Scudamore said: “What’s gone against us is not having to build 20 new stadia. It almost feels as if we are on standby for when somebody can’t host it. “
While both Russia and Qatar come with obvious risks, it is said to be the 2014 World Cup in Brazil causing FIFA the most concern. The South American nation were awarded the tournament in 2007 but since then progress on the building work of the 12 stadiums has been slow.
But it is the countries infrastructure which is creating real problems. The vast land of Brazil means that air-travel is the only feasible way for visitors to travel between the host cities, but there have been massive delays in the improvement of Brazil’s air travel.
Speaking last week. International Air Transport Association chairman Giovanni Bisignani warned that if Brazil didn’t begin plans to improve its airports then tournament could be a “national embarrassment.”
Bisignani said: “I don’t see much progress and the clock is ticking. We must get all the stakeholders to the table and finalize a plan.” The views were echoed by Brazilian World Cup winning captain Carlos Alberto who was far from happy after waiting seven hours for a flight from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro.
Alberto said: “That can’t happen at the World Cup. It is really shameful what is happening with the airports, our expectations are great. We need to deliver the best World Cup but we have to speed up with the preparations because we are a little slow.”
If FIFA was to pull the plug on Brazil 2014, it would certainly open a door to either England or the USA, who are the only countries that could host a tournament at short notice. It must be said that this is highly unlikely, but the last week has shown just how laughable FIFA is as an organisation and you certainly wouldn’t rule out another conspiracy theory.