That's the feeling among many football fans around the world about Qatar 2022. How? Why? Will it still go ahead?
2nd December 2010 provoked the biggest debate in football history. On this day, Russia was awarded the 2018 World Cup. Controversial to some, but I don't have too many complaints to be honest. Some people cry 'racism', but haven't Germany and South Africa had a bit of a past with regards to racism?
But the big debate is obviously concerning the venue of the 2022 World Cup - Qatar. As the headline says, I just don't get it. Many of you might feel the same way. How has a country half the size of Wales, and the same population as Birmingham, beaten off competition from USA, Japan, South Korea and Australia? Were their bids not good enough? Or did Qatar simply 'buy' the vote, as Fifa General Secretary Jerome Valcke has suggested? Everyone has an opinion.
Fifa has adopted a policy of 'branching out' under Sepp Blatter. It is for this reason why I thought, and hoped, Fifa would award the competition to Australia. It received the fewest votes. How? It certainly seems to tick a lot of boxes: it has a growing football support, it is new territory for Fifa, a good national team, hosted events such as the Olympics and the Rugby World Cup, has top-class stadia in place and cooler weather conditions in June and July. Qatar doesn't tick many of them boxes, but still won the vote, despite initially being rated as 'high-risk'.
Qatar has been on everyone's lips for a year or so now. Not only with the World Cup bid, but Qatari groups are beginning to make inroads into European football. Paris Saint-Germain and Malaga are beginning to reap the rewards of Qatari financing, while stories keep reappearing of Qatari interest of Manchester United. They even attracted the help of Zinedine Zidane in promoting their bid. But for this minute, and unknown, state to be awarded the biggest competion on the planet is still a staggering decision.
Qatar doesn't just prompt footballing arguments. For example, what would happen if Israel qualified? Qatar, like the rest of the Arab world, does not recognise Israel. However, it does seem that Qatar would forget this minor issue should this scenario arise. Other issues such as fans who want to drink beer, female fans and homosexual fans have arisen, but again, Qatar has said they will all be accomodated for. Even if Sepp Blatter did make some cringeworthy comments about homosexuality. Has a footballing decision ever prompted so much debate about issues beyond football?
There have also been suggestions that Fifa will bend over backwards to move the tournament to January, to protect players from the hot weather of Qatar in June and July. Why is it only AFTER the vote that this was discussed? They obviously hadn't consulted Sian Lloyd, she could have told Fifa that Qatar is sweltering in the summer. But all these proposed air-conditioned stadia should solve that problem. Whether or not they are built is another matter.
Other senior figures have suggested matches should be made available to states like Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Gulf countries. This was also talked about AFTER the decision. Ok, so on that basis, England could host a World Cup, bidding alone, then using Cardiff, Glasgow, Belfast and Dublin to host matches. Fifa have since backtracked, and confirmed it will be a Qatar-only tournament.
The impression I get is that Fifa are so determined to make sure Qatar is a success they'd be prepared to bend every rule possible. Is it because they realise what a howler of a decision they've made? Or is the prospect of a few extra zeros in their bank account too appealing?
I'm not suggesting that there was definitely bribing going on during the voting process, but it has to be considered. Mohammed Bin Hammam has been banned from Fifa for life after allegations of him bribing officials during the Fifa presidency campaign. Bin Hammam is Qatari. This is a conspiracy theorist's dream.
Sepp Blatter has confirmed recently that he will call for an investigation into Qatar 2022 if there is any evidence of wrongdoing. That could eventually lead to Qatar being stripped of its honour, and another country taking over as 2022 hosts. I am sure many fans will be hoping for an investigation into the bid, as it just doesn't quite add up.
There is still eleven years until this World Cup, so bad news for anyone who happens to be bored of this topic. But something needs to be done, and quickly.