When FIFA awarded Qatar the 2022 FIFA World Cup in December of 2010, the general public responded with a mass outcry for answers as to why the FIFA executive committee decided to choose Qatar as the host nation. Among the many complaints by fans, players, and the media were the timing of the tournament (average daily temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months in Qatar), possible discrimination against LGBTQ fans that intend to make the trip to the 2022 World Cup, and the possibility of corruption within the FIFA committee during the selection process. The general public consensus was that Qatar seemed like an extremely unusual selection for a FIFA World Cup.
Fast-forward 6 years. Even though the constant media coverage regarding the World Cup in Qatar has subsided, there is still controversy hanging over this World Cup. FIFA did enact to change the dates of the 2022 World Cup to November 21st 2022 to December 18th 2022, which eased some of the public’s criticism of the Executive Committee. Unfortunately for FIFA, that change did not prevent others from digging deeper into problems regarding Qatar 2022. Now, FIFA might arguably have a bigger problem on its hands after Amnesty International posted a report on the working conditions related to the building of Qatar’s stadiums.
In its report, Amnesty International found “systematic abuses” regarding Qatar’s use of migrant laborers (CNN). For example, one migrant worker explained that his family was forced to leave its home after he failed to receive a paycheck for 3 months straight. From a human rights perspective, this type of behavior by FIFA and its contracting companies cannot be swept under the rug as human life is literally being threatened by FIFA’s negligence to basic necessities. The report also included other inhumane acts such as, uninhabitable living conditions for workers, employers confiscating migrant workers’ passports, “workers being threatened for complaining about working conditions,” and the failure to pay workers for an extended period of time (CNN). Additional reports have also estimated that approximately 1,200 workers have died while working on the stadiums in Qatar since work started in 2011 (BBC).
Of course, FIFA and Qatar have denied these claims, imploring that the 2022 World Cup will be a forum for change. However, it is up to the media and public to continue to put pressure on FIFA and Qatar to face the data and the facts, as it cannot keep on ignoring the inhumane atrocities that will continue occur in Qatar leading up to the 2022 World Cup. It is even more critical now, just after Gianni Infantino has assumed the new role of the President of FIFA under the assumption that he would revamp FIFA’s image as a black hole of corruption. If Infantino decides to take a hard stand on the pressing issue of migrant workers’ rights in Qatar, it would be a great first step for FIFA to turn the page from its much maligned past of corruption. If not, Qatar 2022 will just be another prime example of FIFA’s ability to turn its cheek to illegalities for the possibility of churning a profit.
Rossingh, Danielle. “Qatar: Amnesty Urges FIFA Action over Workers.” CNN. Cable News Network, 31 Mar. 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
Stephenson, Wesley. “Have 1,200 World Cup Workers Really Died in Qatar? – BBC News.” BBC News. 6 June 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.