The Qatar World Cup is the biggest scandal in football history built on a lack of human rights and the death of innocent people since it was announced they were hosting the competition in 2010. This is a disgrace to the sport we love, a sport which is said to be for everyone. The continuation of this event would be shameful to the integrity of both the sport and the competition that has taken place since 1930. These issues are being overlooked and this should not be happening.
This event should not take place. It has been reported a minimum of 6,500 migrant workers in Qatar have died in preparation of the World Cup; these workers have been building structures such as new stadiums in Qatar. The figures include migrants from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. However, the figures in the report are greatly miscalculated as they exclude in these calculations the work of migrants from several other countries. This means the total number of deaths could be a lot higher. These people have been forced to work long hours in extreme heat with little to protection and have paid the price of the negligence of the people in charge. In 2016 an Amnesty International report found that migrant workers were living in squalid conditions, going months without pay, being denied exit visas and having their passports confiscated. To further add to this, they had also been blatantly lied to about the type of work they would be completing before going to Qatar. This is forced labour under international law, in other words, modern day slavery. What is even more sickening is that information like this is being overlooked on a daily basis by FIFA and many of the major countries involved in the competition.
Not only are FIFA overlooking these issues they are also blinded to the country’s long list of human rights violations, contradicting themselves as they say, “Everyone should feel safe and welcome in our game.”
Qatar has laws against homosexuality in their country. Male homosexuality receives a punishment of up to 3 years in prison and a fine. Within the country there have also been known cases of the death penalty being enforced on persons found guilty of homosexuality. This shows that FIFA (who say the sport is inclusive and made for everyone) have chosen a country to host their competition who discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community. To amplify this, in Qatar domestic violence has extremely low reporting rates due to the stigma that reporting such a crime would bring moral damage to the family. In recent years journalists have been jailed for speaking out against what’s happening, proving freedom of speech is nonexistent within the country. To host the World Cup in Qatar goes against everything FIFA claims to stand for and even more so what football stands for. A sport that was started for everyone and to be enjoyable for everyone. It is morally wrong on all levels to play to the World Cup in this country, so we need to speak out about this injustice and do more. Stopping this event from taking place is the least the footballing world can do for the people who are still living in these conditions and for the families of the innocent victims who have died in these conditions.
It’s not just myself that feels this way, other nations are opening their eyes to the occurrences in Qatar and have peacefully protested by wearing human rights shirts before games. For example, Norway, the Netherlands and Germany have all been involved in protesting Qatar’s human rights record before their World Cup 2022 qualifiers in March. Ex-footballers have also spoken out about the issues. An example of this is the former Manchester United and France international Eric Cantona who said, “To be honest, I don’t really care about the next World Cup,” he explained, adding it was ‘not a real World Cup’ for him. “I’m not against the idea of hosting a World Cup in a country where there is a possibility to develop and promote football, like in South Africa or the United States. But Qatar is not the country of football. It’s only about money and the way they treated the people who built the stadiums, it’s horrible.” Eric Cantona is a man who loves the sport and does not want it associated with the inhumane treatment of thousands of people working in these conditions to build stadiums purely to make the people at the top their unnecessary money.
As we get closer to the time of the World Cup, the media will focus their attention on Qatar and the football. These issues will be in the spotlight. If more teams, players and football supporters also highlight these issues a change can