Hosting the 2020 Olympics? No problem. Taking over the 2022 World Cup? Piece of cake! The Japan Football Association has said that Japan is ready to take over from Qatar should FIFA decide to strip the Middle Eastern country of the hosting rights due to various corruption allegations.
JFA president Kuniya Daini said that since Tokyo will be hosting the Olympics two years before the 2022 World Cup, they have the best qualifications to host the world’s biggest football competition. “If FIFA look for an alternative country, we already have the stadiums that would meet the criteria to host it,” he said. However he also admits that this situation would be highly unlikely, despite the various controversies that Qatar is facing. FIFA’s ethics committee is currently looking into the bidding process that Qatar won, which has been hounded by allegations of bribing and corruption.
Aside from that problem, Qatar is also being criticized over human rights violations, especially regarding the treatment of foreign construction workers. It’s estimated that over 450 migrant workers from India alone have died in the past two years, while constructing the football stadiums that will be used in 2022. Japan has previously hosted the World Cup, co-hosting with South Korea in 2010. They were one of the losing countries in the bid for the 2022 edition, which was won by Qatar, to everyone’s surprise. The tournament is usually held in the summer, which is highly intense in the Middle East during that time. But it cannot be moved to winter, because it is the mid-season for many domestic leagues in Europe.
[ via AFP ]