The Qatar World Cup and Western Ideals

When Qatar was chosen to host the World Cup in 2010 at FIFA Congress it was automatically met with a high level of skepticism. The United States has long been considered the country most equipped to host the World Cup as the infrastructure already existed.

The first pushback to Qatar hosting the World Cup was that Qatar obtained the World Cup by bribing the Executive Committee of FIFA which decides the host of the World Cup. Even though the FIFA ethics committee found no evidence of bribe, shortly after awarding Qatar the world cup FIFA began to be investigated publicly for corruption by the US Department of Justice. To this day the former President of CONCACAF Jack Warner is still wanted by the US to answer charges. Most of the members of the EXCO resigned.

Chuck Blazer a member of that board was the whistleblower who told FIFA about the myriad of corruption and bribes taking place within the body of FIFA. Qatar was accused of bribing African Nations 1.5 million dollars each for its vote in its Head of International Media Relations Phaedra Almajid. Even though they deny any wrongdoing Phaedra claims to have been in the room when these offerings were made.

All of this controversy between FIFA and Qatar began happening immediately after the vote. Then the big question was posed, how will FIFA conduct a summer world cup in a place where it is 116 degrees? FIFA took an unprecedented step and moved the World Cup to the winter of 2022 to avoid the harsh summer heat. Then the biggest issue that bothered many Western Nations and the World alike was Qatar’s horrible Human Rights record.

This coupled with the fact that the infrastructure needed to be built to host a World Cup in a place not known to host big sporting events made the world nervous. This World Cup quickly began to be compared to the World Cup of 1974 held by the oppressive regime in Argentina and the Olympics that was held in Hitler’s Germany in 1936. Those who worried had their worst fears confirmed as news of the condition that migrant workers were living in began to be released. They lived in something akin to modern-day slavery quarters one bedroom serving up to 12 people in most situations.

Fast forward to today and the death toll as reported by several Human Rights organizations has reached a staggering 6500 dead. There is also allegations of wage theft and people’s passport being withheld. FIFA and Qatar knew what it would take to host the World Cup and Oil Rich Nation has the means to pay for it but not enough occupants to build it. Most of those who have died building Qatar and FIFA’s dream world cup are some of the poorest individuals from Africa and India.

Outside of the deaths which are horrible, hosting the World Cup in Qatar has been a controversial decision for FIFA. Qatar known for its strict anti-LGBTQIA+ laws has banned any show of affection or support. The English team was planning to wear bands with the LGBTQIA+ flag and was threatened that if they did each person would receive a Yellow Card from FIFA.

This was enough to deter fans and players from standing in solidarity with the community. In regards to women, Qatar has put in place strict rules as to what can be worn and warned women that they should be dressed modestly. This clashes with Western Ideology that people should be able to wear what they want without fear of prosecution. Another big blow to the World Cup was the news that two days before the World Cup Qatar banned drinking in the stadium. The World Cup is a big drinking event. This has put FIFA’s 112 Million dollar contract with Beer Company Budweiser in danger.

FIFA will face a breach of contract lawsuit from Budweiser regarding this change.  As an avid fan of Football and the World Cup, the controversy surrounding the event has taken a small toll. The event itself does not feel the same as it did in other years. This is echoed across the Soccer world. Even the start of the world cup in what is supposed to be a grandiose event felt like a whimper and not a bang! We are all hoping that it turns around and gets back on track for the sake of the game we all know and love. 

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