The World Cup is an incredible event, but it is presided over by an organisation that doesn’t work. Fifa is a bunch of plutocrats, as out of touch from the passionate fans of the game as it is possible to imagine. And the selection process by which this organisation chooses the host of the world’s most prestigious sporting event is at best flawed. It managed to pick a country to host the 2022 World Cup that has a diabolical human rights record and no workers’ rights whatsoever. Fifa is in need of root and branch transformation. Hundreds of workers have already died in Qatar to prepare for the tournament – something that should never have been allowed to happen. Football is the beautiful game, but the way that Fifa operates and chooses host countries is downright ugly. Supporters deserve so much better.
Len Shackleton is professor of economics at the University of Buckingham, and economics fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, says No
There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with having a competitive bidding process, with potential host nations presenting detailed proposals. But it could be improved. Why should it be in the hands of “World Cup family” bureaucrats, who have, in most cases, never kicked a football seriously? One answer might be a Eurovision-style popular vote – though the problem would be getting the X-Factor generation to listen to a serious argument for more than 15 seconds. How about an “electoral college”, consisting of past footballers chosen by fans of each member country, meeting to consider rival bids? I’m sure that getting Jurgen Klinsmann, Gary Lineker, Diego Maradona, Pele etc together for a one-off conference would be a lot of fun, be much less prone to politicking, and be unlikely ever to come out with crazy ideas like playing in a desert at the height of summer.