You Can’t Facilitate Change Unless You Oppose Oppression

By | October 7, 2013

One of my colleagues brought up the “disaster” that Qatar’s World Cup is turning out to be. I felt that I just wanted to elaborate on why I think FIFA should truly reconsider hosting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.


Is this even an option at this point? According to recent reports, Sepp Blatter ruled out stripping Qatar of the tournament completely, but has delayed any final decisions regarding a possible “Winter World Cup.”[1]


The “Winter World Cup” idea came after FIFA decided (sketchily) to have Qatar host in 2022. Later, FIFA thought “Well… June/July in Qatar reaches about 120 degrees Fahrenheit… that might be an issue.” An investigation was completed, and was most definitely found to be an issue. [2] Such extreme heats post an obvious health risk to players and spectators.


Delaying the games until winter has some clear obstacles. First of all, other countries that bid on the world cup against Qatar will most definitely challenge delaying the World Cup until winter [3]. If a country cannot host the games in the summer, another eligible country should be able to do so. Additionally, regular season games and players in the northern hemisphere will be severely off for at least two seasons if the World Cup is moved to the winter. Many teams play from August/September through April/May. [4]


More importantly and beyond these trivial logistical reasons, Qatar has already demonstrated serious human rights violations, exploiting and abusing migrant workers. Nepalese migrant laborers provide for a large amount of the work force in the construction of a huge World Cup infrastructure project in Lusail City.


Recent investigations have revealed that workers are denied salary, passports, ID cards to reduce their status to illegal aliens and prevent them from running away. Additionally, their living conditions are vile and they have little access to food or water [5]. These are just a few instances of one of the world’s richest nations exploiting some of their poorest inhabitants for the most POPULAR sporting event in the world.


Everyone is talking about the effect of Qatar’s extreme heat on a few hundred footballers,” said Umesh Upadhyaya, general secretary of the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions. “But they are ignoring the hardships, blood and sweat of thousands of migrant workers, who will be building the World Cup stadiums in shifts that can last eight times the length of a football match.

-Umesh Upadhyaya, General Secretary of the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions, The Guardian [5]


What does this say about FIFA? Nothing good, and nothing I feel comfortable expressing in a public forum. If Qatar can’t successfully prepare for the world cup without enslaving migrant workers, FIFA needs to change venues immediately. This is a chance for FIFA to show that they care about human rights, and will not sell out to the highest bidder. If FIFA doesn’t take a stand on Qatar’s actions, this will continue to happen.


The World Cup definitely has an impact globally; it brings people together on a scale matched by no other event. But FIFA seems to believes that they have the power to facilitate political change or fix governments, but they don’t have any true successes. The Italian World Cup in 1934 didn’t end World War II, and the Argentinian World Cup in 1978 didn’t end its brutal military regime.


Instances like the 2006 World Cup in Germany (post-unification of East and West Germany) and the 2010 World Cup in Africa (post-apartheid) celebrated the achievements of those individual countries. The difference between Germany, South Africa, and hopefully Brazil from Italy, Argentina, and Qatar is celebrating country triumphs, not rewarding brutal regimes by permitting these countries to host the World Cup in the hopes that their behaviors will change.


So my message is this: If you really want to be a part of history, oppose oppression. Only then can FIFA have any  impact on human rights.









Category: FIFA Qatar World Cup

About Lauren Oliveri

I'm a senior Biomedical Engineering major at Duke University. I enrolled in Duke’s Soccer Politics class in hopes of learning enough about football to fully understand and appreciate why the world goes nuts every four years. My high profile soccer career consisted of one season on the youth league in my town as a gifted 7 year old. My golden highlight: faking an injury and eating oranges on the sideline.

2 thoughts on “You Can’t Facilitate Change Unless You Oppose Oppression

  1. Balser

    I agree that FIFA should seriously consider moving the location from Qatar. These sort of issues seem to be arising more and more as more economically disadvantaged countries, such as South Africa and then Brazil were chosen. I also see parallels between the issues facing FIFA in Qatar and the ones facing the Olympic Committee in Russia for the upcoming winter Olympics. I agree that these organizations have a duty to oppose oppression and seek countries that have better human rights records.
    I also thought it was very insightful how other countries may be able to challenge how it will be held in the winter, and I think that may be the best alternative, to simply move it to another country. However, I am afraid that it is too late in this case to change locations after so much has already started in Qatar, unless they picked a country that already had existing infrastructure to host the World Cup.

  2. live soccer score

    Well very hard situation if’ things are that bad then FIFA facilities should do something and talk about it. And if they have any reason’ a good reson than they should show to the people FIFA is about people love peace and humanity.


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