Qatar should not have hosted this year’s World Cup

Greta Carrasco, Opinions Editor

The World Cup: FIFA’s most prestigious soccer competition, where only the 32 best international teams get to compete. Millions of people tune in to cheer for their national team; some even experience the emotional roller coaster in person. The colorful and diverse tournament has been celebrated for years, but there are many underlying issues in this year’s World Cup that need to be addressed.

Qatar was named the host nation of the 2022 World Cup 12 years ago. Since then, many divulgences about the manner in which Qatar was selected and what the nation has done to meet World Cup needs have come to the forefront.

The Kalifa system is the main reason for Qatar’s controversy, known to critics as a form of modern slavery. Companies recruit workers in poverty with promises of good pay, but ask for a recruitment fee of $1,000 to $4,000. Once in Qatar, they are forced to sign papers, stating they will not be allowed to change jobs and confiscate their passport. They are crammed into small, unhygienic spaces and made to work through temperatures of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Without a legal way to return home, workers have no other option than to stay. During the constructions of the World Cup venues, an estimated 6,000 workers died from the harsh work conditions. 

Human rights violations are far from the only problems. Qatar’s bid has been filled with allegations of  bribery that may have taken place to help Qatar. Investigation discovered a payment of $2 million in efforts to help Qatar’s election.

Typically, FIFA’s executives evaluate the competence of a host nation in a scale from zero through five. FIFA asks countries to meet the following guidelines: 12 stadiums that meet a capacity of 40,000 to 80,000 people; transportation that meet a minimum capacity of 1,450 passengers per hour; and 72 ‘base camp’ hotels for teams and referees etc. The official Qatar evaluation showed that three stadiums had to undergo an immense renovation while the other nine had to be built from scratch.

These constructions led to the Khalifa system to be reinforced, and once the truth of the labor conditions came out, FIFA did not even condemn the Qatari government for their human rights violations. 

Qatar simply should have never been elected to be the host nation for this year’s World Cup. Although the achievement of becoming the first Arab country to host the event allows for growth in representation, perhaps it should have waited. When the infrastructure could be constructed by a humanely treated work-force and with a list of met requirements.