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and the host Qatar Football Association (QFA) and award it instead to the
second-place bidder, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).4 FIFA,
however, explicitly rejected this possibility when, in response to Compliance
Committee Chief Domenico Scala’s announcement that “the awarding could
be void” if the investigations resulted in evidence of “bought votes,” FIFA
proclaimed that it had “no legal grounds to take away the hosting of the FIFA
That claim is true to an extent; FIFA’s regulations and contracts with
national associations mandate resolution of disputes through FIFA’s own
internal mechanisms and substantive rules, neither of which provide the
basis to rescind the award to the QFA.6 The World Cup hosting rights and
responsibilities are contractual, however, so FIFA could award the World
Cup to another bidder or call a re-bid, and no tribunal would enforce the
FIFA–QFA agreements because contracts procured through bribery are void
pursuant to transnational public policy.7 The problem is that unilaterally
voiding any contract means that the QFA will sue, subjecting FIFA to
proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and requiring
FIFA to prove bribery attributable to the QFA by clear and convincing
evidence.8 FIFA does not want to take on the expense of litigation and the
risk of losing.9
4 See Davis, supra note 3; Dan Murphy, FIFA Scandal: Could Host Qatar Forfeit the
2022 World Cup (+Video), CHRISTIAN SCI. MONITOR (May 29, 2015),
0528/FIFA-scandal-Could-host-Qatar-forfeit-the-2022-World-Cup-video; James Reevell,
Could FIFA Really Take the World Cup from Russia or Qatar?, BBC NEWS (June 8, 2015),
5 Mark Morgenstein, FIFA: No Grounds to Strip Russia or Qatar of World Cup, CNN
(June 9, 2015), http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/08/football/fifa-scandal.
6 See infra Part III.A.
7 See infra Part II.A (explaining the hosting and organizing agreements between FIFA
and the host-nation’s association); World Duty Free Co., Ltd. v. Republic of Kenya, ICSID
Award, Case No. ARB/00/7 (Oct. 4, 2006) (writing that “bribery is contrary to the
international public policy of most, if not all, States or, to use another formula, to
transnational public policy” so that “claims based . . . on contracts obtained by corruption
cannot be upheld by this Arbitral Tribunal”).
8 See infra Part III.A–B (describing FIFA’s internal dispute mechanisms, including
recourse to the CAS for claims based o n commercial interests); Reevell, supra note 4 (“The
Qataris are bullish and will fight any move to take the tournament away from them with every
legal resource at their disposal.”).
9 See, e.g., Hosenball, supra note 2 (citing former FIFA ethics chief stating that FIFA
would have to pay compensation to Qatar if FIFA redid the bids).