FIFA rates Qatar highest-risk World Cup option

Published Nov. 19, 2010 5:55 p.m. EST

Soccer's governing body rated Qatar its riskiest option to organize a World Cup in 2018 or 2022.

According to evaluations of all nine bids published Friday, Qatar is deemed a ''high'' operational risk to host the monthlong tournament in 2022. Russia is rated a ''medium'' risk for 2018. Both bids plan to spend tens of billions of dollars on stadiums and infrastructure projects such as airports.

FIFA's technical inspection team rated seven other bidders, which have most or all of their stadiums already in place, as ''low'' risks.

Three bidders - the United States, Belgium-Netherlands and Japan - were rated ''medium'' risk in legal planning because FIFA said they did not fully provide guarantees of government support underwriting the project.


U.S. lawmakers passed a resolution Wednesday that encouraged federal agencies to ''meet all requirements'' for hosting in 2022.

England and Spain-Portugal scored best in the ranking. They drew ''medium'' risks in just two of 17 categories, which included stadiums, transit, team facilities and legal guarantees from governments and host cities.

The 2018 contest features England, Russia, and joint bids from Belgium-Holland and Spain-Portugal. The 2022 candidates are the U.S., Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar. The World Cup hosts will be decided in a secret-ballot vote at FIFA headquarters Dec. 2 in Zurich.

The reports were based on four-day visits by an inspection panel to bid sites between July and September. The assessments came two days after FIFA summarized the weaknesses of each bid.

That report highlighted concerns that Qatar's desert heat posed a health risk to players and officials, and that Russia would rely heavily on planes to move teams and fans around the country.