The Guardian, Qatar’s World Cup Bid, and Why Journos Shouldn’t Accept Free Trips

By Noah Davis 

Next Thursday, the 22 members of FIFA’s executive committee will vote to award the locations of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Qatar, the tiny, oil-rich nation, continues to figure strongly in the ’22 process, despite obvious drawbacks to its bid. The nation has received some extremely positive press, like this story in the Guardian.

An excerpt: “Liberated from the hassle of constantly changing hotel rooms and draining cross country travel, those attending a largely Doha-centric tournament featuring all 12 stadiums within close proximity could attend three matches a day.”

That’s an incredibly sunny way of putting the fact that hundreds of thousands of visitors will be crammed into one small city, inviting disaster. The rest of the article is filled with similar positive rhetoric, glossing over the bid’s defaults.

As’s Grant Wahl points out, maybe Louise Taylor shouldn’t have spent time in Qatar on the country’s dime. Journalistic ethics, anyone?

The commentors on the Guardian story expect more as well.

villasam: “Is it too naive to say that I would have expected better of the Guardian than this tawdry advert? Although, as everyone knows that Louise Taylor is always wrong, maybe it was the Aussie bid team who paid for this article to be placed?”

Kanchelskis14: “Did you enjoy your sojourn to Qatar last week? just to detail the facts of the trip, as I understand them…Qatar Airways business class flight, wined and dined, training sessions and press seats at Argentina vs Brazil and talks with Ferguson, head of Qatari FA. Please point out if any of those details are wrong, Louise. Embarrassing that the Guardian have printed this article.”

Dublin4: “Jeez Louise, did you begin your career writing brochures for estate agents?”