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Saudi sports minister calls for Qatar to be stripped of World Cup 2022

Shrouded under various controversies, already isolated Gulf nation Qatar has once again engulfed in a fresh wave of storm coming from Saudi.

It seems on the verge of losing its prized bid to host FIFA World Cup 2022, said reports.

Qatar is reeling under international doubts resulting from alleged bribery in securing the FIFA tournament and the deaths of workers when constructing new stadiums. Eventually pressure is building up on FIFA to nullify Qatar’s bid and to find an alternate venue to hold this high-profile global sporting event.

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Saudi Arabia leading the battle

Saudi Arabia is leading from the forefront and has demanded the FIFA authorities to strip Qatar of the rights to host World Cup 2022 because of the vote buying allegations during the nomination procedure that was held in 2010.

Germany-based magazine Focus has reported Saudi Arabia’s sports minister Turki Al Sheikh calling up on FIFA officials to reconsider their decision and cancel the Qatar’s bid to hold World Cup in 2022. Though so far no concrete decision has been made but it is expected that football’s supreme governing body will take its final decision on this matter by the end of next summer, probably in September.

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Voicing against Qatar, why now?

It seemed that most of the people and policy makers had started forgetting the vote-buying allegations raised against Qatar. But a book by former Football Federation of Australia’s head of corporate and public affairs, Bonita Mersiades, has reignited the old debate.

In her book Whatever It Takes: The Inside Story of the FIFA Way, Mersiades has touched up on the weaknesses of FIFA’s internal processes. Her writing has opened a new window toward the doubtful deeds of FIFA in some circumstancces

“So many things I knew, had observed, heard, and read led me to the inevitable conclusion that hosting the World Cup would never be earned on merit,” Mersiades wrote.

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UK or US, which will be the alternate venue?

If allegations against Qatar are proved true, it will most probably result into changing the 2022 World Cup venue. In that case, either UK or the US would be considered as alternative venues for the tournament.

However, it is expected that UK will try every bit to win the bid. UK had last hosted the football world cup in 1966 and it is more of a prestige issue for them to host this coveted event again. In fact UK politicians are also supporting the move to strip Qatar of the 2022 World Cup.

UK had lost out in their bids for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, despite sending envoys including football-legend David Beckham and Prince William to argue their case.