Have you ever wondered why the bidding process for hosting the World Cup is so competitive and intense? FIFA has a pretty sophisticated process for compiling bids and ultimately deciding on a destination. The process begins with a simple request form that is sent out, and made available to every member association (MA). The MAs then submit bids which are evaluated by FIFA very closely based on a number of criteria. The organization then submits recommendations on behalf of select countries whose bids were most impressive and practical given the circumstances. Eventually, after extensive deliberation, FIFA arrives at its desired country. In some cases, as seen in the upcoming World Cup, FIFA also needs to reconsider its choice. Initially, FIFA chose Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup. However, FIFA is considering pivoting to a different country if Qatar fails to meet certain human rights regulations. The global community is watching Qatar, particularly how the country treats and looks after migrant workers. After some investigation, it was found that Qatar fell short of many basic human rights issues. Professor John Ruggie of Harvard University issued a report that read,
“Fifa should include human rights within its criteria for evaluating bids to host tournaments and should make them a substantive factor in host selection.”
This, combined with past controversy FIFA dealt with by not addressing human rights issues in previous hosting countries, led to a response from FIFA. Although FIFA cannot enforce human rights in countries around the world, they can facilitate the implementation through the offer of hosting. Regardless, you can see the extensive process of choosing the right host for the world cup, and what it entails exactly.
However, the economic impact of the World Cup is questionable and uncertain in many cases. Given the considerable demand previously mentioned, this may come as a bit of a surprise. The reality is, is that hosting the tournament puts the hosting country on a global stage, attracting billions of individuals’ attentions. Brazil spent over $13 billion to finance the World Cup in 2014. Although there were large estimates for cash inflow to Brazil through tourism, and international investment, there are certain figures and metrics that suggest that the benefits simply do not outweigh the costs of hosting.
Tourism is a clear reason why a country should host the World Cup. The Brazilian Airline Association reported a decrease in air traffic of 11-15 percent between June 2014 (World Cup time) and June 2013 (regular time). This leads experts to question whether or not regular tourists were deterred due to inflow of irregular tourists, or if other factors played in. Additionally, economists estimated that many jobs would be added as a result of the economic stimulation. In June 2014, however, job creation fell to its SLOWEST pace since 1998 in Brazil. Not only this, the Brazilians had to face increases in prices in general because of the tournament. Inflation was souring, and overall efficiency was decreasing.
At any rate, it’s important to consider the full cost-benefit analysis of hosting the event. We know a lot of time, energy and thought goes into the selection process, but do these countries really want to host…?