Was It A Mistake To Host The World Cup In Qatar This Year?
Loads Of Controversies
Having returned after 4 years, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is back with a ton of baggage. The tournament has been plagued by controversy.
Numerous corruption allegations. Significant human rights violations. Appalling treatment of migrant workers. Discriminatory laws against the LGBTQIA+ community. Take your pick.
There is a lot to unpack here, with multiple fans even boycotting travelling to Qatar to see their World Cup teams.
Strap in, because we’ve got lots to get through...
A Surprising World Cup Bid
On December 2nd 2010, Qatar was selected as the location for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Since then, the country has been accused of & investigated for bribing FIFA officials in order to secure hosting rights for the World Cup. In 2015, 2 investigations were launched by Swiss prosecutors & the US Department of Justice.
Through the investigations, a number of football businessmen & officials have been convicted. Former President of FIFA Sepp Blatter has said that awarding Qatar the tournament was “a mistake”. He also explained how Qatar had used "black ops", suggesting that the bid committee had cheated to win the hosting rights.
It was a bad choice & I was responsible for that as president at the time
Sepp Blatter - Former President of FIFA
Human Rights Violations
In February 2021, The Guardian said that 6,500 of an estimated 30,000 employees have died in Qatar since preparations started. That’s over 20%.
However, the government of Qatar argued that the amount was completely inaccurate.
In 2021, Human Rights Watch claimed that foreign workers continued to experience "punitive & illegal wage deductions”, as well as "months of unpaid wages for long hours of gruelling work.”
Qatar's Laws On Homosexuality
Since homosexual actions are viewed as sinful under Islamic Sharia law, they are forbidden in Qatar. Possible penalties include fines, receiving a prison sentence of up to 7 years, & even being stoned to death.
World Cup organisers in Qatar preach that “everyone is welcome” but it seems to be quite the opposite.
Nasser al Khater, chief executive of Qatar 2022, has urged tourists to "respect our culture”, adding that the government won’t amend its anti-homosexuality legislation. Another World Cup ambassador, Khalid Salman, has claimed that homosexuality is a “damage in the mind”.
From Support To Criticism
David Beckham has also been under fire, after being offered up to £150 million to become an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup.
As said by ITV journalist Andrew Pierce, “he should be hanging his head in shame. He’s a gay icon, hugely popular around the world, & he’s doing this for 1 reason: millions in the bank."
England captain Harry Kane also initially said that he would be wearing a OneLove armband in Qatar to stand with the LGBTQIA+ community. However, after pressures from FIFA, who threatened to card him before the game even starts & fine him after the game, they have now decided that it just isn’t worth the hassle…
The Dilemma To Support
Amid all these controversies, FIFA has neglected to comment. Instead, they wrote to the 32 participating teams & claimed that they should all “now focus on the football”. It said the sport shouldn’t “hand out moral lessons”.
FIFA seems to be complying to Qatar’s strict demands in the hopes that it won’t create further conflict, almost to act as if it’s “business as usual”.
As a football fan myself, I couldn’t wait to hear the first whistle. It’s just a shame that the whole event has been plagued with lots of controversy & criticism. We wait 4 entire years for a World Cup, so it genuinely hurts that we have to deal with this stuff - especially in 2022.