The biggest, and some would say the best, sporting event in the world kicks off in 10 days. The Men’s World Cup is a beloved spectacle around the globe, but the 2022 version of the tournament is surrounded by major controversy. While it’s appropriate to be excited about the soccer tournament, this controversy still needs to be remembered as we get close to kickoff.
The most viewed spectacle in the world with a dark background
The men’s World Cup is usually a cause for jubilation, but the 2022 version has a dark background that casts a shadow over the games. This tournament is being played in November and December. It totally uproots the global club soccer schedule, and this is because it’s too hot to play a tournament in Qatar in the summer months so FIFA just moved the games to fit the host country.
So this tournament is at the wrong time of the year, causing chaos in world soccer. Add to this bribery, human rights abuses, and homophobia, and then you’ll get a full picture of what Qatar 2022 is.
Bribery to get World Cup 2022
If you’ve never seen how FIFA awards a World Cup to a nation, it’s essentially like an election. Nations who want to host get nominations and then vote to be awarded a tournament. Qatar was notably loose with how they went about getting the 2022 men’s World Cup.
The host country lined pockets of confederations who were able to help them gain the nomination and then votes. It went as far as them bribing higher-up members of FIFA. Then-president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter was also bribed, and has just recently fessed up about this saying picking Qatar was a “mistake” and a “bad choice.”
While this is the wrong way to go about getting a nation to host the world’s biggest tournament, it’s not the worst thing about Qatar and the 2022 men’s World Cup.
Rampant homophobia, and a lack of freedom
In Qatar, being in a same-sex relationship is against the law. There is rampant homophobia in Qatar and its citizens and visitors are monitored and censored. This could pose some very significant problems for the teams and fans traveling to the World Cup.
Intolerance of sexual orientation and censorship of people intrudes on their freedoms. It makes it very hard when people from nations who are not as intolerant come to the nation. Qatar has made it known that those who come to their country will have their electronic devices tracked. Qatar’s homophobic tendencies make it very difficult for LGBTQIA fans to enjoy the tournament. England’s foreign secretary, James Cleverly warned “gay fans” to respect the host nation…
It’s getting hectic out here for fans and teams alike to come to Qatar for this tournament. Some teams are planning statements on the pitch through banners and uniforms worn at the games. This is to protest Qatar’s policies as a nation, and what many are calling grievous human rights abuses in order to host the World Cup.
Human rights abuses to create venues
Qatar is a very small island nation in the middle east. The nation had amassed a great fortune due to the wealth of oil money they have, and after bribing their way to becoming the first middle eastern nation to host the men’s World Cup, they needed to build venues that could accommodate the world.
To build state-of-the-art stadiums, team facilities, spectator lodging, and metro-style public transportation lines, Qatar used labor workers from poorer countries. People were lured by the promise of money they couldn’t get in their own countries; many did so to provide for their families, and to rise out of poverty. The problem was, those workers were not treated like people.
News has broken over the past few years calling Qatar’s building of their men’s World Cup a human rights abuse. Workers were treated like slaves. Their passports were taken from them, wages withheld from them, and living quarters were overfilled with people and little-to-no running water. Many workers died because of the adverse working conditions, and sadly too many committed suicide to escape the slavery-like situation.
This was all in the name of meeting the deadline of this out-of-place winter World Cup. The first match is just 10 days away, and even with all this controversy, the tournament will still be played.
Still, there’s a World Cup that will take place
The men’s World Cup will still be played. FIFA is used to playing this tournament in controversial settings; the last iteration of this tournament was played in Russia in 2018. Players and coaches will still have the chance for national glory in the biggest and best tournament in the world.
While the bad things off the pitch will be overshadowed by the games and players on the pitch, we will not ignore the atrocities that brought and built the men’s World Cup to Qatar. In just 10 day’s the world will have its eyes on Qatar. Do not ignore how this nation got to host the tournament, how they treat people in their nation, and how they made state-of-the-art stadiums and facilities.
We at Philly Sports Network will be covering the nations and the matches in-depth, but it just didn’t feel right to just jump into that coverage without shedding light on the major issues that are surrounding this tournament. All these issues are because a corrupt cooperation allowed a controversial nation to host the games biggest tournament.
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Mandatory Credit: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports