During the last thirty years, Qatar has been working towards hosting the 2022 World Cup. But the decision to host the world’s most popular sporting event has not been without its share of controversy. The country has been under fire for a range of human rights concerns, including the treatment of migrant workers, suppression of free speech and the criminalisation of homosexuality.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have long been known to sponsor top European clubs, but only one of the 20 clubs in the top six is not supported by the Arabian Peninsula. The World Cup will give Qatar a significant boost in terms of soft power, and it should be worth the wait.
The Guardian cites a report that says a number of workers have died on World Cup construction sites. The report has not been independently verified, but does not put the number of deaths at six thousand. Qatar’s chief preparations official Hassan Al Thawadi claims the report is misleading. Qatar has also been criticised for its treatment of migrant workers. The migrant workers are predominantly from other parts of Africa and Asia.
In terms of a more sophisticated explanation, the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CABU) has been promoting human rights in the Arab world for years. However, it has also been criticised for not taking action when it came to the human rights abuses of migrant workers. The group says Qatar needs to do more to protect workers from abuse.
The United States has a vested interest in the upcoming tournament, as the country has been designated a major non-NATO ally. President Joe Biden designated Qatar as a “major non-NATO ally” in March. The US Department of State lists various benefits it provides to countries in exchange for security cooperation.
The German Football Association (DFA) also took a similar position in September. A report attributed to the DFA says that the World Cup will provide a “significant boost” to the Qatari economy. Aside from the obvious economic benefits of hosting such an event, it is an opportunity to diversify Qatar’s economy.
However, the 2022 World Cup has faced a variety of criticisms, from human rights to free speech to the size of the shirts on the back of the players’ jerseys. Although the World Cup will take place in Qatar, most entrants are likely to be foreign. It will also be the first World Cup to take place in the Middle East. The country is already a major sports sponsor and reinvests its revenues into sports industries.
In terms of the other things, a “Boycott Qatar” initiative is making waves, particularly in Germany and in stadiums across the world. The “Boycott Qatar” initiative is based on a German website that cites a number of principles of sporting fairness. The main idea is that FIFA should ask Qatar to improve its labor laws before the World Cup begins, or risk a boycott by the global sports community.