The World Cup 2022: The Qatar Controversy


Claire Liotta

The World Cup comes around every four years: a highly-anticipated event by avid soccer fans worldwide. A country hosts the Cup, and supporters tune in to route and cheer on their favorite teams in the heated competition. Finally, after four years of waiting, the World Cup has returned, and in the country of Qatar. This November, TVs lighted, and all eyes fixed on this year’s Cup. However, when controversy sparked regarding a human rights violation, watchers were forced to question what was right and if supporting the World Cup was ethical. 

In December 2010, FIFA announced that Qatar would be the designated host for the 2022 World Cup. Typically, countries that host are well-known and globally prominent, such as Brazil and Germany. Qatar – a small middle eastern nation – raised eyebrows, especially as it has been criticized for its anti-LGBTQ+ laws. In response, Sepp Blatter, the current president of FIFA, was content with Qatar’s bids. Displaying football on “new lands” is positive as it shows how far football has developed. Despite this, people were doubtful. Is this small country equipped to handle one of the most extensive sporting events? Twelve years later, the answer is evident: no. 

When Qatar was preparing to host, migrated workers faced unpaid or late wages, intense heat and working conditions, and forced labor, all while constructing seven new 40,000-seater stadiums costing 300 million dollars. Amnesty International claims that 90% of Qatar’s workforce are migrant workers. With a population of only 3 million, 2,700,000 make up the workforce. These projects resulted in the deaths of, allegedly, 6,500 workers. The numbers make it devastatingly clear; Qatar should have never hosted, and the effects have been detrimental. As Sepp Blatter admits earlier this November, “Qatar was a mistake.” The world couldn’t agree more. 

To make matters worse, US investigations claim that Qatar, and previously Russia, bribed FIFA into hosting the World Cup. The Cup has become so clouded with corruption and brings up more significant themes. Can you enjoy these massive sporting events, knowing the manipulation occurring behind the scenes?