top of page

Qatar is the villain in the World Cup: the true and reprehensible story of the host

Clara Cohn

Everyone knows what the world cup is, and how it's the most awaited event of the year!! Every country and culture focus their eyes on the screens to watch football matches and award the best team the golden trophy that proves their championship. After Russia's hosting in 2018, it became the Middle East's first time hosting such event, this year being in Qatar. Tourists from all over the world come to the hosting city and crowd the stadiums, meaning its a very important responsibility. Qatar being the host in 2022 was very exciting at first, until the true, reprehensible story behind their hosting came out -- it is unexpected, a nightmare, and extremely unacceptable for the 21st century.

There were several problems that indicated Qatar to be a terrible host. Firstly, their climate. It is quite challenging to play for weeks in a place in which summer temperatures get over 40 degrees celsius. The forecast is so extreme they had to change the entire calendar of the event, which is why the 2022 World Cup is currently happening in November and December instead of June and July. This calendar decision was not very positively received in some countries in the northern hemisphere, since the time for them is not ideal. For players, it is far from ideal because some of the games (especially in the groups selection) happened at 10pm and finished at midnight. This restrains them from being active during the day so they won't get exhausted, as well as having a very tight sleep schedule.

Qatar is also a very traditional country that has some 'rules' or ideals that are not idealised in the rest of the world. The country is hostile to same sex culture, such as LGBTQI+ and homosexuality in general. Being LGBTQI+ in their country is not allowed, as it goes against the country's cultural norms. There is an immense pressure for sexual orientation in which it is ''strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion'' from football. This causes a portion of the amused fans to change their perspective on the event in general, even refraining them from watching it due to unmodern beliefs of the host country. Although FIFA has antidiscrimination measures, which were implemented in 2013, they chose to not press the topic. This is why many different protests were held, including from seven european teams wearing heart-shaped, colourful wristbands. FIFA, however, threatened to immediately show yellow cards to those who came into the game with those objects, which were a 'violation of FIFA rules', which is why it wasn't achieved.

Qatar also diminuishes the rights of women; they face discrimination, need permission from their husband/father/brother/uncle/grandfather to marry, study abroad, work in many government jobs, travel abroad in some cases and attend reproductive healthcare. There's a lot of difficulty in getting a divorce or economic independence. Anger has been the emotion to define worldwide tourists that visited the country. Thus, the question posed became 'now, is this culture and religion or unmodern misogynistic thoughts?'.

Another unbelievable aspect about the host of the worldcup this year [2022] is that they allowed foreign workers to be exploited in regards to employment and their living conditions with modern slavery. In February 2021 an investigation found around 6500 facilities for these 'slaves', mostly all working on the infrastructure (stadiums) for the event. FIFA was already aware of the situation about the stadium construction relying on foreign labourers, specifically those from the Kafala System in the Middle East. The abuse these communities suffered included wage theft, physical assault and inadequate nutrition. Later, in November 2022, it was discovered the exploitation of more than two million migrant workers. An interview was conducted with 60 migrant workers employed per stadium, with a total of 982 workers, who all proved that the indications were indeed correct. This also goes against FIFA's human rights policies, which are in accordance with the United Nations, and yet the company chose to not enter legal or logistical consequences. Instead, they advocated for reforms and showed no support, but, can this really be considered a measure against Qatar? The information about the migrant workers was released by a Kenyan security guard, who later forcibly disappeared and was held in confinement. That is considered another evidence of the abuse suffered by those communities. Furthermore, hundreds of migrants were arrested after protesting in Doha for failing to receive their wages. Other evidences suggest the 8 stadiums with a capacity of around 60 thousand people in Qatar were all built in 33 months, that is 2 years and 9 months. That is a very short time for the amount of stadiums and resources they had, unless, the working hours were longer…

This is a very upsetting story to hear, especially for the sport fans who wait excitedly for the World Cup to begin. It is also intolerable to hear that FIFA, the multi-billion-dollar company is doing nothing in their power (considering their power is vested in the entire sporting event) to bear the situation and not only demonstrate no support but also go against the cultural beliefs, once they discriminate or disfavour certain groups in society. Gladly, though, Qatar is being shamed by being the first team to be kicked out of the event in the groups stage, and has to handle all the matches for some country else to win.


bottom of page