By Noah DuBois
Every four years, soccer fans from around the globe have their eyes glued to the television for the Fifa World Cup. The World Cup is meant to bring fans who share the love of soccer together but this year’s tournament, which is being held in Qatar, will be a World Cup like the world has never seen before. Fifa bid corruption, construction worker abuse and the social environment have taken the headlines over the game itself.
Countries bid to host the World Cup and the country is ultimately decided by Fifa’s congress. In 2010, Qatar won the bid to host the tournament in 2022. This was a surprise to fans as Qatar has no history in the World Cup at all, failing to qualify each year. Fifa and former Fifa president Sepp Blatter have a history of corruption accusations. So when Qatar was named as the host nation, fans and players were questioning just how and why.
One of the main reasons that the tournament is being criticized is the climate and conditions of the country. The tournament is usually held during the summer, but with it averaging 106 degrees in the summer, Fifa moved the tournament to november. The host nation hired thousands of migrant workers from surrounding countries to come and build new airports, hotels, and eight new 60,000 seat stadiums. Since the country began its World Cup remodel, over 6,500 migrant workers have died in the process. The workers are forced to work and live in unlivable situations, barely being paid and some not being paid at all. Qatar responded and said that they’ve given the workers less working hours, annual health checks and are required to stop working if it gets too hot, but it is nowhere near enough.
With Qatar being a Muslim nation, there are laws that are strictly followed but might seem outdated to the rest of the world. It is a crime to be homosexual in Qatar. LGTBQ+ people have reported being detained and physically abused. Fans and players in the LGTBQ+ community from around the world have discussed their fears of traveling to the country to watch the most anticipated sporting event in the world. Qatar also has laws limiting women’s rights, for example needing permission from a male to drive a car.
The Qatar Fifa World Cup is taking place over the next month, and soccer fans are eagerly anticipating watching superstars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi play in their last World Cup tournament, as well as the U.S. men’s team coming in with the youngest squad of players in history. How can the world focus on the games when there is so much attention needed behind the scenes?
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