When you think of football and the FIFA World Cup, you would think of fun, entertainment, Wavin' Flag and Waka Waka. Hardly anybody would find FIFA being synonymous with intergovernmental deals, gas sales, airplane deals, corrupt rats, power struggle, and chameleon executives worse than Indian netas.
But that is exactly the tale that Netflix FIFA Uncovered docuseries tells of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association and the Qatar bid.
Before we get into what the docuseries says about how Qatar won the bid, let's brush up on our facts:
What: Qatar has been accused of bribing its way through winning the bid to host the 2022 World Cup despite being an unfit country to do so.
The story according to FIFA Uncovered:
We hear several people telling the tale, from former and current people involved in the Qatar bidding, FIFA, and related events. Episode 3 of the docuseries explores deep into the Qatar bid. It is no surprise then that it starts off with the fact that Qatar's win came as a surprise. Apparently, the US had the strongest bid of all.
Al Thawadi says it was his moving speech that left a mark. FIFA brought football to Africa; surely it could bring football to the Middle East through Qatar.
But Whistleblower Phaedra Al Majid, who worked for the Qatar bid in 2010, says otherwise.
Of course, Qatar and Al Thawadi deny the claims.
You see Qatar was new to the world of football; they were inexperienced when it came to global football or FIFA politics.
Did you ask how wild this story can get? Imagination or entirely factual, we don't know, but here it is:
In 2010, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, at the time the Crown Prince, met with the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace.
There was a third important member present at the meeting - Michel Platini, one of the most influential men in global football, the then-President of the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) and a member of ExCo (the Executive Committee).
Not just the bilateral deals with France, but allegations point fingers at several countries, from Thailand to Brazil.
In a nutshell, Qatar was doing business like no other on the global level, all allegedly for a FIFA tournament.
FIFA's then President Sepp Blatter has recently said that awarding the bid to Qatar in 2010 was a 'mistake', even though the drama took place while he was on the chair. Reportedly, advisors to Blatter on the docuseries said that he was "cornered completely" by the rest of the FIFA members who sided with Qatar.
FIFA voted for Qatar as the host when the country wasn't as known as it is today. When there were no stadiums, no hotels for tourists and teams, and the weather naturally did not fit. After all, the FIFA World Cup takes place in June-July every four years; and summer in the desert nation means temperatures ranging from 47-50 degrees Celsius.
Unlike other countries, which grew their infrastructure organically over the years, Qatar's growth was fast-forwarded by FIFA and great ambitions. But the price of those ambitions was the sweat, tears, blood, and death of migrants who built the dream of the country's rulers, every day while being treated as less than humans.
In 2011, Qatar's bid which it won in 2010, was at risk of being stripped.
The story of Qatar and FIFA sounds no less than the workings of an international mafia organisation. But it is worth a wonder... how is a FIFA tournament worth so much?