Hosting a Football World Cup is a huge thing for any nation. Considering the opportunity of being the first-ever Middle-East Gulf Country to arrange such a grand event, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is undoubtedly an event to be proud of for Qatar.
But unfortunately, from the very beginning of their successful bid till today, the host country has been dealing with a series of allegations, criticisms, and controversies on multiple issues which are also ruining the Historic moment for them, and turning the Qatar 2022 to be one of the most controversial editions of this quadrennial tournament.
So here we are to talk about all the prevailing controversies and try to rule out the unnecessary allegations as well. Let’s start!
Controversies about the Qatar World Cup
Different debatable aspects have been heavily argued regarding the World Cup relocation to Qatar. Let’s take a look at those aspects:
1. Qatar being the Host
Back in 2010, it came as a shock for the entire football World how Qatar, such a tiny nation with no mention-worthy football heritage and pedigree got nominated as the official host of this Mega tournament.
Qatar’s capacity to arrange any international level tournament was never in doubt, but the unusual climate and other adverse circumstances arouse questions about Qatar being the host.
Consequently, the allegations of vote-buying got swirled and the doubts over the legitimacy of the cup being held in Qatar got heavily clouded as well.
Two FIFA executive members from the 24-men committee got suspended before the 2010 World Cup ballot, which further intensified the allegations of Qatar’s buying votes. They were filmed while offering votes in exchange for cash.
FIFA carried out a thorough investigation to check the credibility of such accusations, but nothing came to light that can support their doubts. Although, more investigations continued in France and Switzerland, and in 2020 a U.S. indictment accused 3 FIFA executive committee associates of being paid to support Qatar’s bid.
Qatar always denied these allegations of vote-purchasing, and so did FIFA. Rather, in their defense, FIFA always mentioned that arranging the World Cup in Qatar was part of their plan of expanding the game in newer regions and making it more global.
2. The extreme heat
The scorching heat was a concern from the very beginning of the 2022 World Cup. The average temperature of the Qatari summer is around 105°F, which can reach up to 122-degrees.
This overheating is certainly a big issue from a health point of view and also in the case of the players’ performance. Moreover, unlike other sports like Tennis, football doesn’t have any policy in case of extreme weather conditions like in Qatar.
So, the decision of staging the World cup in Qatar during the Summer drew huge criticism from almost every hook and corner of the soccer world.
The inspection team, the analysts, the health experts, and the majority of the specialists disagreed stating that Qatar held a very high risk due to the adverse weather condition.
Despite all these, FIFA’s then-president Sepp Blatter rejected the criticisms initially. But, in 2013 he admitted that it had been a mistake to allow Qatar to schedule the tournament for the Summer.
Eventually, FIFA and the tournament organizing committee started pushing for the competition to get shifted to the Winter, for the first time in its entire history.
Although, the decision of moving the world cup from its traditional schedule wasn’t accepted very warmly by Fox, the official broadcasting company who had paid an amount of 425 million USD for the television right in the U.S. as the new time would possibly clash with the NFL season.
FIFA had to compensate it by awarding the rights of arranging the 2026 edition to Fox without opening any official bids from other Giants like ESPN, NBC, or any American broadcasters.
3. Disturbance to European domestic leagues
One solution leads to another problem here. Arranging the tournament in the Winter will cause all the European leagues to have a two-month period taken out at the mid-season.
In the majority of cases, domestic leagues are played from August to May which will be hampered profoundly due to the World Cup. It’s not possible to run the leagues simultaneously with the World Cup, as a large portion of soccer players represent the clubs.
The emerged situation is going to force the European leagues to shut down the club game for at least six to seven weeks. It’s also going to put the players under immense pressure and potential injury risks. Overall, it’ll be a jam-packed season for the footballers and fans.
4. Qatar’s human rights violation against migrant workers
Seven stadiums along with a new airport, metros, and roads are being constructed to arrange the World Cup in Qatar. It requires a huge workforce of more than 303000 migrant workers.
But the way the Qatar world cup migrant labourers in Qatar World Cup are getting treated has drawn a huge criticism, especially regarding different human rights abuses including slavery allegations and Qatar workers’ death.
Qatar was accused of violating labour rights and using forced labor by Amnesty International in 2016. Amnesty International Qatar world cup report also stated different issues like Qatar workers’ filthy accommodation, withheld wages, larger recruitment fees, and laborers’ passports confiscation.
Nevertheless, the Qatar government, along with different Human Rights Campaigners has been trying since 2017 to protect migrant workers from poor Qatar working conditions, labor in extreme heat, limit the workers’ working hours, improve the living standard and accommodation conditions, etc. as per the international labour laws of International Labour Organization.
But the scenario still remains unchanged even after the abolishment of the “kafala” or sponsorship system, which prevented international workers from leaving their work without the consent of their employers.
Therefore, the foreign workers continued to suffer from illegal practices like wage deductions, minimum wage, grueling long hours of work, and months of unpaid wages.
Workplace safety was never fully assured which caused the deaths among workers over 6500 migrant laborers from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, as per the report of the Guardian. It means on an average 12 international workers died each week since 2010.
Hence, the Qatar 2022 World Cup will remain a blood-stained tournament in the History book.
Although Qatar officially announced that they would comply with the existing FIFA policies of promoting LGBT tolerance and is going to allow rainbow flags in the stadium, the LGBTQ+ community should have legit concerns about safety in the 2022 World Cup.
Homosexuality is illegal and a punishable crime in Qatar. The offenders may face fines or imprisonment of up to 7 years.
As per a recent Scandinavian survey, 3 of the FIFA’s recommended 69 hotels directly deny to entry any same-sex couples, whereas 20 said they have no problem arranging accommodation for them until they publicly show their sexuality. Just 33 hotels have no problem with gay couples’ booking and staying.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) confirms that they will confirm that all those hotels make themselves aware of the strict requirements and ensure welcoming all foreign guests in a non-discriminatory manner.
The Qatari Government officials, even Qatar’s Emir also welcome the gay community to the World Cup but also urge them to respect their culture.
Despite all these efforts, gay people in many parts of the world are still in doubt. Many are even threatening and seriously consider boycotting the Qatar tournament.
Wales LGBTQ fans vow to boycott Qatar World Cup, whereas the Norwegian head of Lesbians demands to suspend all anti-homosexual laws during the competition.
6. Alcohol consumption & availability
A significant flashpoint for the 2022 Qatar World Cup controversy has been Alcohol availability. Qatar is the first Arab country to host the tournament.
Therefore, the consumption of alcohol is felt to be at stake by the majority of the international fans as in Qatar Alcohol sales are strictly prohibited at the majority of the restaurants, unless it’s any high-end hotel or resort.
But considering the World Cup requirements, the Supreme Committee on Delivery and Legacy decided to make alcohol available in the organizers’ designated ‘fan zones’ outside the stadiums and other venues. However, the higher price is still a concern. On a recent announcement Qatar has banned alcohol selling in the stadium.
7. Russian invasion of Ukraine
When the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine back in 2022’s February, FIFA initially decided not to arrange any qualifiers in Russia, but they didn’t impose any ban on Russia’s 2022 Qatar World Cup mission.
But the scenario got changed when the other countries opposed the decision rigidly.
Several teams including England, Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic refused to play against the Russian Federation. FIFA further imposed a number of sanctions on Russia’s participation in International Soccer. Eventually, it led Russia to exit from the Qatar World Cup as well.
Despite all the controversies, criticisms, gossip, and rumors, Qatar World Cup is already underway and is expected to be one of the best World Cups ever. This is going to be the last time, the world will see Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and many other legends play. Worldwide International football fans are eagerly waiting for November to start when the world cup will roll on the field.
Leave a Reply