Worth the Goal?

Ben Hollis, OP-ED Editor

The World Cup’s Location Has Raised Many Questions

The 2022 World Cup has kicked off in Qatar, the event is celebrated and watched by over a billion people all over the world.

However this year’s cup has been smeared in controversy over not only how Qatar got to host the World Cup but also how they exploited thousands of migrant workers to build the 50 plus thousand seat stadiums just for the tournament.

The organization who runs the World Cup, FIFA is known to be corrupt in their leadership. Qatar was accused of bribing FIFA officals over 3.7 million dollars before being chosen as the host nation in 2022, but was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter at first supported the bid but would later regret supporting Qatar’s bid for the biggest soccer tournament in the world.

It was a “mistake” Blatter would later say.

Once Qatar officially were made the host nation for the 2022 World Cup in 2010 the country would get straight to work on building seven stadiums, spending around 300 billion dollars in total to build the stadiums.

Qatar is a very small country, its landmass is smaller than the US state of Connecticut. And most of it’s population is some of the richest people in the world. Instead of having Qatari people build the stadiums Qatar has around 2 million South Asian migrant workers to build not just stadiums for the World Cup but all infrastructure projects in the counry.

Many human rights orginizations have accused Qatar of having inadequite working conditions and not properly investigating many worker deaths from building these stadiums.

Migrant workers have worked in un-humanitarian conditions to build these stadiums for 12 years now. It does not help when the average temperature in the summer months in Qatar is 104 degrees.

It has been accused that workers were threatened for taking water breaks, bathroom breaks and lunch breaks. And in the few hours when workers aren’t at work they are housed in very poor conditions as well as being denied any medical care and faced malnutrition.

As a result it has been alleged that over 6,500 migrant workers have passed away due to these conditions. It has also been accused that the Qatari government would not investigate into the inadequite conditions and worker deaths.

The government would only state to the worker’s families that their father/son/husband/son etc. passed away from “natural causes” and not by work related deaths.

Many migrant workers were attracted to working for Qatar to build these stadiums because they were told to believe that they would get paid enough to get brought out of poverty and help their families. Little did they know for many it was a death trap.

As well as the countless migrant deaths the governemnt policy of Qatar has been brought into question as the country is on the center stage for the World Cup.

Qatar is a monarchy where the current monarch gets to appoint government officials such as the prime minister.

This has led to a system where many basic and fundamental rights we take for granted are at a very high risk.

LGBTQ+ rights in the country have been threatened by multiples articles in Qatari law where it is illegal for any consensual sexual relations between a couple of the same gender and can be in prison for up to seven years.

It has also been reported that arrested members of the LGBTQ+ community have been severely beaten and sexually harrassed while in detention. Security forces in the country also force all transgender detainees attend conversion therapy.

Along with that Qatar has also made it illegal to defame religion, critisizing the monarch (also known as the Emir) and plotting to “overthrow the regime.”

Many journalists have also been detained in the country under the pretense of posting “false news” and are forced to confess to writing and or publishing false news and are forced to confess and have their work in most cases gets destroyed.

As the World Cup has gotten into full swing these issues have been brought to the world stage. The US mens national team were going to wear a rainbow flag on their uniform to show solidarity with LGBTQ+ Qatarians who have been persecuted but FIFA asked for the US team to remove any sign of LGBTQ+ symbolism from their uniforms.

Fans are also banned from wearing any LQBTQ+ flags and fans have been escorted out of the stadium due to that rule.

So it brings up the question. Is holding the biggest sports tournament in the world in Qatar really worth it when it seems as if FIFA is glorifying Qatar’s human rights abuses.