England is prepared to host the 2022 World Cup if the decision to award the tournament to Qatar is revoked in the wake of the corruption allegations engulfing soccer’s governing body, a U.K. government minister said.
“If FIFA came forward and asked us to consider hosting it, we have the facilities in this country and of course we did mount a very impressive, if unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup,” Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said in the House of Commons Thursday.
Speculation is growing that Qatar could lose the right to host the World Cup if allegations that the bid process was corrupt are found to be true. Sepp Blatter resigned as FIFA president on Tuesday, a week after U.S. prosecutors indicted FIFA officials and Swiss authorities started a probe into the awarding of the 2018 competition to Russia and the event four years later to Qatar.
FIFA’s turmoil “gets more murky and distasteful by the day” and “the case for re-running it is very strong,” Whittingdale said. Swiss officials raided FIFA’s headquarters last week, seizing documents and other electronic data as it intensified a seven-month old probe into allegations of corruption.
Blatter, under investigation by U.S. prosecutors and the FBI for corruption allegations he denies, announced he’d resign as soon as a successor is picked. Blatter, 79, had been elected to a fifth term on Friday.
“In terms of the decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, that is obviously something which we are watching the investigation, but at the moment that decision stands,” Whittingdale said. “If it were decided to change that, I think as the chairman of the English FA observed, if Russia hosts the World Cup in 2018 it does seem very unlikely that another European country would host it in 2022.”