[WORLD CUP 2022] Like a U.S. presidential race, the race for the 2022 World Cup was a fascinating exercise in predicting the outcome -- without the polling.
After Qatar's 14-8 victory in the final round of voting, the 2022 race had the added intrigue of trying to figure out who voted for whom. Only a few members of the FIFA executive committee have made
public their secret vote, so here's our best guess of the eight who voted for the USA -- and the 14 who didn't ...
-- The most interesting question concerns who did FIFA President Sepp Blatter support. It is widely believed that he had concerns with the technical merits of the Qatari bid -- how it would handle the heat -- and voted for the USA in the final round. That seems to have been the belief of U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, who commented after the results were announced that the difference was "three swing votes," meaning that a 14-8 Qatari victory would have been an 11-11 tie, broken by Blatter's tiebreaking vote in the USA's favor.
-- Qatar did begin with a huge advantage, having as many as nine sure votes going into the first round -- and all the votes in Africa and Asia in the final round. Qatar's support within South America -- garnered as part of its alliance with 2018 bidder Spain -- was well known, but its support within Europe -- five of the eight UEFA members -- was decisive. Reflecting the big-world politics involved in the race, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's pressure on fellow Frenchman, UEFA president Michel Platini, to vote for Qatar's 2022 bid was well-known. Sarkozy worked hard to get France Euro 2016 and is believed to desire Qatar's favor for a number of major economic deals.
-- There has been much speculation about who were the eight who supported the USA. Seven U.S. supporters are pretty well known. The eighth is a mystery. The assumption has been that German Franz Beckenbauer, a star in the NASL, voted for the USA after supporting Australia in the first round, but Beckenbauer is now believed to have backed Qatar -- again under pressure from his government for economic motives. If Beckenbauer did not cast the eighth U.S. vote in the final round, it is believed to have come from Paraguayan Nicolas Leoz, the president of Conmebol, the South American confederation. Meeting with Leoz in Ecuador a week before the 2018 and 2022 votes, Blatter came out in support for Conmebol keeping 4.5 places (for nine entrants) in the 2014 World Cup, in addition to the one given host Brazil ...
The 2022 vote:
Round 1: Australia 1 vote, Japan 3 votes, South Korea 4 votes, Qatar 11 votes, USA 3 votes (Australia eliminated)
Round 2: Japan 2 votes, South Korea 5 votes, Qatar 10 votes and USA 5 votes (Japan eliminated)
Round 3: South Korea 5 votes, Qatar 11 votes, USA 6 votes (South Korea eliminated)
Round 4: Qatar 14 votes and USA 8 votes (Qatar obtained an absolute majority)
Round 4-our best guess ...
Sepp Blatter (Switzerland) USA
Jack Warner (Trinidad & Tobago) USA
Chuck Blazer (United States) USA
Rafael Salguero (Guatemala) USA
Michel Platini (France) Qatar
Angel Maria Villar (Spain) Qatar
Geoff Thompson (England) USA
Michel D'Hooghe (Belgium) USA
Senes Erzik (Turkey) Qatar
Marios Lefkaritis (Cyprus) Qatar
Franz Beckenbauer (Germany) Qatar
Vitaly Mutko (Russia) USA
South America (3)
Julio Grondona (Argentina) Qatar
Ricardo Teixeira (Brazil) Qatar
Nicolas Leoz (Paraguay) USA
Chung Mong-joon (South Korea) Qatar
Mohamed Bin Hammam (Qatar) Qatar
Worawi Makudi (Thailand) Qatar
Junji Ogura (Japan) Qatar
Issa Hayatou (Cameroon) Qatar
Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast) Qatar
Hany Abo Rida (Egypt) Qatar