Beleaguered Qatar 2022: The True Cost of Qatar Tournament

Posted by DG, Date posted at November 23, 2022

The controversial win of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup is still receiving negative feedback albeit unfavourable news from several organizations and personalities that are involved not just in FIFA itself but now spans human rights and the moral code of holding this in Qatar itself.

Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022
Image source: Sky Sports

Currently, there are issues with how the construction of the venue was run. This involved construction workers from Bangladesh and Nepal working in intense heat and questionable wages amidst almost impossible deadlines. There are also players who are pending to refuse to participate in the games, most in the opening ceremonies, for various reasons. 

Accommodations as well are an issue since there aren’t enough rooms in hotels but instead, wives and girlfriends (WAGs) will be adjusting — albeit begrudgingly — on luxury cruise ships. Thousands of fans are also experiencing the same predicament of difficulty booking rooms in Qatar itself — where the only option would be to look into the nearest venues in another country or Arabian state. Note that Qatar is smaller than London.

Construction workers from Bangladesh and Nepal
Image source: https://www.standard.co.uk/

Starkly different cultures facing global audiences

The latest FIFA move to help quell these issues is via a diktat to competing nations to “now focus on football” including banning supporters from displaying political messages at matches. Qatar has been known for carrying out limits to its citizens’ freedom of speech. This might see future snags should journalists, influencers, or parties outside of Qatar’s dominion be quashed when sharing news and insights on the event in the coming weeks.

The unbelievable U-Turn of Qatar to ban beer has event organizers reeling and scrambling to set things right. Fans won’t be able to buy beer in or around World Cup stadiums at all. May this piece of news not dampen the spirit of the World Cup, so to speak. There were anonymous sources who revealed to The New York Times that this sudden change of heart was brought about by the brother of Qatar’s ruling emir —  Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani citing concerns that excessive visibility of alcohol would upset the local population and create security problems.

Once the games begin, there won’t be any room to be flexible on any last-minute changes that Qatar might want to impose. The diktat might help shift focus to the Messi Magic or video assistant referee (VAR) hysteria as the matches stream out globally. 

You might also want to check: 2022 FIFA World Cup: Infantino: Let football take the stage

Another issue that is yet to show its repercussion on the World Cup is how the schedule will impact the quality of the football. There has been a struggle to prepare for the games. This led to a series of exhausted and underprepared players — only a few days of training were given to prep for the 30-degree heat. Though this can be addressed by the matches which will on the sharpest it has been being that there will be beloved players bidding goodbye — definitely will be giving their utmost and best performances this season. 

Soccer greats bidding farewell after 2022

This year’s World Cup will be seeing several players bidding farewell to the game. This amps up the ante on the level of audiences wanting to witness all the games. The world’s love for football cannot be emphasized enough for the players they have come to love over the years:

Among the players who will be having their last FIFA season will be Argentina’s Lionel Messi, 35. He has already officially announced this on various occasions. There are also pending forecasts that even Cristiano Ronaldo will be closing his career as a premier football player this season. The next World Cup will still be in 2026 wherein he will be 41 years of age. It will be a historical 18th of December if either will hold the World Cup trophy and end with the GOAT.

The fans of Croatia playmaker Luka Modric, 37, and France’s Karim Benzema, 34, will be able to catch their performance for the last time as well in this year’s World Cup. Other players as well are having their best last year will be are Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, Gareth Bale, Thiago Silva, Dani Alves and Belgium’s Golden Generation, led by Kevin De Bruyne. 

An undercurrent of human rights issues linger

Despite the glittering spectacle of football superstars, the celebrities performing for the ceremonies as well as attending as part of the audience in the World Cup — the issues that have hounded the Qatar event will remain even if they will be addressed or swept under the rug for the nth time.

The call to address abuses, among which are unexplained deaths, suffered by migrant workers in preparing for the World Cup will not go away even after the end of the game. The presence of Human Rights Watch has helped keep the issue alive for the affected families of migrant workers from Bangladesh and Nepal. Under Qatar’s labour law, deaths attributed to “natural causes” without being adequately investigated are not considered work-related and are not compensated.  

Qatar also has laws that punish same-sex sexual activities that carry a prison sentence and can also meet capital punishment. There has been reassurance given by both FIFA and Qatar that everyone is welcome to be part of the World Cup event. Hopefully, this holds ground as the event continues to roll on.

The question of how Qatar won the World Cup has never stopped as a point of contention. This has been raised by former FIFA officials, members as well as current officials on board. This wasn’t addressed head-on and has been discreetly avoided as days passed and the World Cup event draws near. 

That’s how the World Cup is kicking off today folks. On my end, by all means, let’s all cheer for our football heroes and embrace the game. This, after all, can be considered one of the greatest shows on earth. A global event that helps us establish relationships with our friends, and families and cement cherished memories as the game holds us captivated and nostalgic.

But soon after, let’s give some thought to whether we’ll also take the good with the bad. May there be valuable lessons learned on the part of FIFA. Comment below! We’ll be featuring articles on the World Cup as well. Let us know what you’d like us to focus on, too. As always, your feedback lets us make things better. Ciao! 

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