Written by Ella Rowe
Edited by Annika Lilja
Biannually, the World Cup switches-off between the women’s and men’s soccer teams and billions of people gather to watch as 32 countries compete for the winning spot in this tournament, making the World Cup one of the most-watched sports events globally. Teams acquire points based on their wins, ties, and losses, and depending on their success, they proceed to the tournament. FIFA (Federation International Football Association) is the governing body that votes on the location for the World Cup, which changes every year.
The choice made in 2010 to host the World Cup in Qatar received immediate backlash and was considered “a bad choice” according to Sepp Blatter, the former FIFA administrator. The first problem regarding this country was the heat: it was simply too hot to play soccer in 100+ degree heat. As a result, for the first time, the World Cup was going to be held in the winter season to prevent the treacherous heat of a Qatar summer. The second problem lay with the glaring problem of the lack of resources and space that Quarter had to host such a significant and attention-seeking event. Qatar, being only 4471 square miles, didn’t have the infrastructure to accommodate all the travelers and tourists that would come to see the World Cup. So the workforce was responsible for creating space to house the travelers. The next problem, aside from this overwhelming task, was the working conditions for the migrant workers. The conditions were extremely dangerous, and even ended in over 6,500 deaths from 2010 until the present. Some of these deaths were caused by car crashes on the way to work, due to the heat or suicide.
Qatar only acknowledges 3 deaths as direct results of the World Cup construction and claims that the building allowed for an opportunity to improve welfare standards. They also plan on creating a $440 million fund- the same price as the World Cup Prize- to compensate for migrant workers and their families who suffered due to the World Cup construction.
In 2010, when Qatar announced that it would be holding the 2022 World Cup, there were many suspicions among soccer fans. Qatar, a place that has ever hosted the tournament, supposedly outbid larger and more powerful countries like the USA, Japan, and Australia. Meanwhile, FIFA suspended two of its 24-person committee, as they were accused of accepting bribery for their votes. In early 2020, the US Department of Justice released emails suggesting that Qatar intermediaries bribed FIFA to vote for the tournament to be held in Qatar. Many people suggest that Qatar bribed FIFA as a means to hold the 2022 World Cup. But the controversies don’t stop there.
For decades, Qatar has limited the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, and even criminalized same sex intercourse. Qataris have reported police harassment and intimidation surrounding this subject, and many people in the LGBTQ+ community feared traveling to Qatar, afraid that they would be shunned. Many Qatar citizens think that Qatar officials used the soccer tournament as a distraction from the allegations of human rights violations.
Sullivan, Becky. “Why Qatar is a Controversial host for the World Cup.” NPR, 18 November 2022. https://www.npr.org/2022/11/18/1137204271/qatar-world-cup-controversies
Ward, Ian. “The many, many controversies surrounding the 2022 World Cup, explained.” Vox, 19 November 2022. https://www.vox.com/world/23450515/world-cup-fifa-qatar-2022-controversy-scandals-explained