MLS commissioner Don Garber said that FIFA's decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar could prove to be a “monumental disaster,” according to the Sports Business Journal.
Garber was speaking at the 2014 IMG World Congress of Sports when he was asked about a recent report alleging that FIFA's former VP had been paid $1.2 million by a firm linked to Qatar's World Cup bid.
“That now is going to get a lot more legs,” he said. “If more comes out, who knows what happens. It's very disappointing. It's an unpleasant aspect of the global football business.”
As reported by The Telegraph on Monday, former FIFA VP Jack Warner, who resigned in 2011 amidst accusations of accepting bribes, was paid $1.2 million from a former Qatari football executive. Another $750K was reportedly paid to his sons.
Aside from the recent revelations about Warner, the 2022 World Cup has been mired in controversy because the searing climate could force the tournament from the summer to the winter months. One obstacle, under this scenario, would be that the World Cup would interfere with Europe's domestic leagues.
But a potentially bigger problem arises under the possibility of a winter World Cup.
“Their broadcast partners might have a problem with it going up against [NFL] football,” Garber said. “It affects all of us for many, many years.”
One solution – Garber noted he hopes the event is ultimately moved – could be to move the World Cup to the US.
“We certainly would be happy to host it here and have a lot of big stadiums that could turn it around and host on a very short notice. But we're going to be on the sidelines on this and hope that FIFA can resolve this in a way that's good for the sport.”