CONCACAF Head Says FIFA World Cup Strategy Hurts AmericasTariq Panja
Awarding soccer’s World Cup should revert to a rotation among continents, the head of the sport in North America, Central America and the Caribbean said today.
Jeffrey Webb, president of the regional body known by the acronym CONCACAF, said his area has suffered since FIFA, the sport’s worldwide governing body, abandoned the rotation before the last host elections.
Brazil, which will stage next year’s World Cup, was the last to be chosen under the previous system when it won host rights in 2007. If the system had remained in place, Webb’s region would have staged the 2018 World Cup that instead went to Russia. The 2022 edition is slated to take place in Qatar, which beat a bidding field that included the U.S.
“I must say that I believe the rotation was working fine, to be honest with you,” Webb, from the Cayman Islands, said on a conference call. “Actually, when you look at the rotation, Korea-Japan, to Europe, to Africa, then on to South America, it’s very unfortunate that rotation stopped at that time.”
The 2010 selection process, which led to Russia and Qatar being awarded host rights, was the first after rotation was scrapped. Two voters were expelled before the final poll for offering to sell their support to reporters posing as representatives of a bidding nation. Claims of impropriety were also made against other executives.
The crisis led FIFA to push through changes in an effort to improve its governance, including a switch of the World Cup balloting to all 209 member nations from its 24-member executive board.
Webb, who took up the CONCACAF post in 2012 after his predecessor, Jack Warner, quit amid a corruption probe, said he backed the governance changes.
The U.S. was the last CONCACAF country to stage the World Cup, in 1994. Mexico, which staged the tournament finals in 1986 and 1970, is the only other World Cup host from the region.