2022 Qatar World Cup: Celebration or Disgrace?


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Article by Sam Barbir, Writer

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you don’t follow football, you may not know that the FIFA World Cup is coming up. However, there is a big anomaly: this year’s event will be held in November-December, different from the Cup’s normal June-July schedule. The host nation Qatar has summer temperatures that can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius, so this change is for good reason.  

Nonetheless, this is far from the only controversy associated with this year’s event. Qatar’s successful bid for the World Cup has been analyzed for over a decade, and the circumstances of how they won the bid is still a mystery. After all, how could a relatively new desert nation, smaller than the state of Connecticut, with no soccer history whatsoever become the 2022 host over countries like Australia or the United States?

One major concern during Qatar’s building of venues for the World Cup has been its treatment of foreign workers. Approximately 30,000 workers came from countries like Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, and how they have been treated by their employers has come under scrutiny. Human rights groups have called out poor living conditions, grueling work in exchange for unpaid and deducted wages, as well as employers’ control over the workers. Furthermore, the inconsistency between sources on the number of worker deaths has made the situation even more suspicious. The Qatari government says that between 2014 and 2020 there were 37 deaths from the construction of stadiums, with 34 of them non-work related. However, authorities from the countries of the workers state that the death toll is closer to 6500. Qatar’s argument is that the latter larger number includes workers who had been working in the country before the World Cup bid, and are unrelated to the construction of football venues. The International Labor Organization (ILO), concluded from government-run hospital and ambulance records that 50 died and 500 were seriously injured in 2021 alone. It’s hard to know who has the right number, but speculation remains that Qatar is not treating construction workers well.

Furthermore, although their place as host nation is already set, many people are still puzzled on how Qatar really won the spot. FIFA, the governing body of football, attributes it to wanting to expand the sport into new regions, but the organization does not have a good track record in terms of scandals. Many people suspect that votes were bought, and—despite denials—investigations still continue.  

What’s certain is that the 2022 World Cup will be a first for the Middle East. There’s a crowd of critics who are against this year’s host nation, but no countries are yet to boycott, and the chances of weak ticket sales are unlikely, given that every Cup is highly anticipated. The World Cup is an event known for bringing people together, and all hope that this year’s will continue that tradition.