LONDON: Russia and Qatar should still host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, according to David Beckham, despite being tainted by FIFA’s corruption scandals he branded as “disgusting”. FIFA has been in crisis since May when 14 executives were indicted as part an FBI investigation into corruption and last week 16 more officials were charged by US authorities.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini are each serving a 90-day suspension while a Swiss criminal investigation into the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar was launched earlier this year.
Beckham, who was part of the FA delegation aiming to win the 2018 bid for England, was asked whether the arrests and the prospect of a new president in 2016 meant FIFA was turning a corner.
“No – they are just hitting the bend,” Beckham told the Radio Times. “There’s a lot still to be done. It’s such a mess that it’s going to take a while to sort out. “For me to see the game, the way it’s been treated and looked after, is devastating. It’s disgusting.”
There have been repeated calls for the 2018 and 2022 elections to be re-run, with 16 of the 24 committee members serving at the time of the bids either already punished for misconduct or currently under investigation. The Qatar tournament in 2022 has come under particular scrutiny, given the tournament will need to be played in the winter months due to the high risk to players and fans from temperatures that can reach 50 degrees Celsius in summer.
It has been proposed that the competition will instead start in November and despite the difficulties, Beckham insists “they’ll make it work”. “Whether it’s corrupt or not, those countries have been chosen,” Beckham said. “People need to get behind that. It’s all about bringing football to new countries. I think they should stick with it.”
Former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder Beckham, an ex-England skipper and one of the best known footballers in the world, also revealed that he “loves rugby”.
“I love watching it and I love the whole thing. I have enjoyed going to Twickenham more than I have enjoyed watching football,” he said. Tellingly, Beckham said he was both “devastated and relieved” when his 13-year-old son Romeo no longer wanted to play football. “The other day Romeo turned round to me and said he didn’t want to play football any more. Part of me was devastated but part of me was relieved, too,” he said. “He’s got other passions and I like that.” – AFP