By: McLeod Brown
When the FIFA scandal first broke in June of this year, those that follow the sport of soccer closely were anything but surprised to hear of the claims made against former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and many of the organizations top officials. The accusations of money laundering, bribery, and strong-arming within the organization were a long time coming for an entity that had far too long broken the rules without any repercussions.
When trying to relate the scandal to businesses in the United States, the amount of lost dollars from the corruption within FIFA leaves an even more sour taste in ones mouth. While corruption and favoritism has long been present in FIFA, such as it has in many corporations, especially in sporting businesses, peoples eyes began to open up to just how grand the scale of corruption had become with South Africa’s selection as the host for the 2010 World Cup. Not much made sense in selecting a country that was forced to build stadiums that to this day sit unused. The same can be said for the selection of Brazil and Qatar as hosts of the 2014 and 2022 World Cups. Choosing two economically challenged countries to host the biggest sporting event in the world, along with burdening the financial strains of constructing stadiums, left many puzzled and concerned over FIFA’s true intentions. The selection of Qatar is all the more suspicious when taking into account that the United States finished as the runner up for the 2022 World Cup. Upon the whistleblowing of the FIFA scandal, this was one of the most discussed issues with FIFA. Why pick a country that has temperatures than can reach life-threatening levels to host the World Cup as opposed to the much more efficient United States? The loss of the 2022 tournament also hurts U.S. businesses, with American corporations losing millions of sponsorship dollars that would come with the World Cup. Additionally, the amount of money that would come into the country from the tourism with the tournament would have been critical to sustain economic growth. The United States has the ability to grow from the tournament because it would not have to build more stadiums for games. Teams could use existing ones that NFL teams use. The same cannot be said for South America, Brazil, or Qatar. Therefore, the FIFA scandal obviously hurts U.S. businesses with the loss of added income. The only positive that may come from it is if Qatar is stripped of the 2022 World Cup and the United States is worth it. However, that does not seem likely given that stadium construction is already underway in the country. Instead, it seems we will have to live with the slight of being passed over for the tournament, and hope our country’s fortune turns with the changing of FIFA’s leadership.