If you have even a passing interest in football then you may have noticed there are some issues related to the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. When I say some, there are some major issues, some particularly terrible.
The most important one to recently come to light is the appalling exploitation of the, primarily, Nepali workers who work with little or no pay in conditions of bonded or slave labour and where the death rates are running at around one worker per day. Carry on at this rate and the World Cup will have seen the deaths of over 3,000 workers just to build the stadiums.
You can and should watch the video here:
There is also the on-going debate about whether the World Cup should even be played in Qatar, where FIFA members have been shocked to discover, temperatures can rise to well over 40 degrees centigrade and often do. Especially during the summer, when the World Cup is due to be played.
These debates have been developed a discussed elsewhere in greater detail.
FIFA allegedly carried out extensive research into the viability of the various bids to host the World Cup. The bids from Australia and the USA appeared to be the other major contenders.
Qatar is a small place. A small place with no real footballing culture, just lots of money. It has a population of 250,000 people citizens [who are outnumbered by the foreign workforce]. To make it easy for me to comprehend, that is less than the population of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Everyone knows that the temperature in the Middle East is what one might describe as Very Hot. And there are many, many people who know that labour conditions and human rights in Qatar and its surrounding countries are appalling. And that the labour system is based on something called kafala, which requires migrant workers to have a sponsor and which can, and often does, lead to abuses of the worker’s rights as well as cruelty and physical abuse. [See here and here].
The whole of the Qatari construction industry is dependent on the migrant workers and abuse and death is commonplace. So if you were asking the Qataris to build a lot of football stadiums, you might then ask how they were going to do that. And you might also ask yourself about labour conditions. And you would quickly find out about these problems. That this issue has arisen is sadly not a surprise. Nor is FIFA’s shocked stance or the laughably naive denials of the organising committee.
So FIFA’s researchers and delegates have failed to think about these two major and pretty obvious problems. I am left to surmise that the whole decision to award the World Cup is based either on corruption, incompetence or political interference. Or maybe a mix of the three. Who’d have thought it?
But will anyone be held to account? Will FIFA or the Qatari authorities really act to resolve these issues. Will labour laws be changed and enforced? Not just for World Cup stadiums but for all workers? I really do doubt it.