Should Qatar host the 2022 football world cup?

The FIFA executive committee has chosen Qatar to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup (WC). In order to be able to host this prestigious event, Qatar is considerably improving the country’s infrastructure. However, due to human rights violations, FIFA needs to reassess Qatar’s suitability as a WC host.

Qatar SHOULD have their hosting rights revoked.

The Qatari organisers in charge of the event have come under major criticism due to the following reasons:

  • Islamic culture has very strong views about any sexual orientations that are non-traditional and so have received criticism for not recognising the rights of LGBT communities. It is still possible to be arrested for LGBT sexual activities, according to 2004 legislation.
  • Corruption in securing the world cup bid has been a continuous news headline, as Asian Football Federation chief Mohammed Bin Hammam has allegedly made payments in exchange for votes that were in favour of the Qatari bid to host the competition.
  • Poor living/ working conditions.

Within the next two years, the amount of people living in Qatar will have reached twice the population of the country before construction began, due to the temporary workforce, making it clear why there have been huge struggles in supplying all workers with basic needs such as drinking water, food, shelter and sanitation. This, as well as the poor safety conditions of the work involved has led to the many deaths amongst the workforce, with heart attacks being a common cause of death.

  • Freedom of movement.

Whilst many would simply like to return home, the shocking reality is that the state run kafala sponsorship scheme allows employers to collect workers’ passports, leaving employees to ask for permission to leave their jobs, in most cases denied.

  • Worker’s rights.

For many workers the promise of sustained income in Qatar quickly vanished as many workers are left without pay for months only to receive lower wages than previously agreed.

  • Physical abuse.

Abuse has happened as a result of workers complaining about their rights being breached to their supervisors, leaving many workers afraid to speak up or take action.

When comparing the 1200 deaths (expected to rise to 4000) to the eight lives that were lost in Brazil for the 2014 WC, it is clear that Qatar does not  currently have the leadership required to call this construction project a success for the nation. It is not too late for FIFA to give Qatar an ultimatum: to completely solve the problems regarding complete transparency within the Asian Football Federation, LGBT rights, and human rights, or to award the bid to a country capable of preparing such an event without these arguments being a problem.

With just under half of the world watching the WC, FIFA should not be able to force this many people into a situation where they have to support modern day slavery in order to watch their nation compete, therefore the WC hosting rights SHOULD be rescinded.

Qatar SHOULDN’T have their hosting rights revoked.

Despite the criticisms given, there are many advantages of Qatar keeping the hosting rights, coupled with various stakeholder benefits:

  • The 2022 WC is the first time since its establishment in 1930 that a Middle-Eastern and Muslim country has hosted this event. This promotes an affinity between countries, improving international relations as well as enriching the general public’s understanding of different cultures.
  • In preparation, Qatar’s economy has entered a new diversification phase driven by large infrastructure spending including roads, transportation, hotels and services all of which also provide employment opportunities and attract skilled workers. Furthermore, the WC promotes Qatar to the world via commercialisation where over 3.2 billion television viewers tune in, resulting in increased tourism, investment and thus economic growth. This economic and infrastructural growth provides the possibility of a better standard of living for its people.
  • Due to the challenge of hosting the WC in Qatar where temperatures commonly rise as high as 45°C in summer, large amounts of resources have been invested into advancement for sustainable cooling technology, including using solar energy, evaporative sea water cooling and convection cooling currents to power the stadia. This sustainable technology could be of great importance to the rest of the world, especially due to the predicted effects of global warming.
  • In order to avoid the ‘white elephant’ problem, Qatar will construct the stadia with a modular design allowing the ability to be dismantled after the WC; dismantled sections will be shipped to 22 locations in the developing world to be used. This novel method prevents the waste stadia and stadia capacity following the WC and allows developing countries to use sporting facilities that were previously unattainable.

The WC has caused global attention and pressure on Qatari regulations, leading to the promise of modernised legislation in addition to actions that have already been taken:

  • Following the recommendations made by DLA Piper the Qatar Foundation created the Migrant Workers Welfare Charter. This enforces a minimum living, working and general treatment standard.
  • In August 2015, the Ministry of Labour announced that all companies in Qatar would be required to pay their employees by electronic transfers. This rule is aimed at contractors who withhold salaries or make late payments.

If the WC was not given to Qatar, human rights and labour enforcement would have not been updated and changed.

If the hosting rights were rescinded from Qatar, they would have to be given to a developed country with existing infrastructure and facilities due to time constraints. The benefits resulting from this would be far smaller than the benefits and reforms that Qatar is seeing.

All of the reasons discussed above are why Qatar SHOULD NOT be stripped of the WC hosting rights.

66: 
Ethan Gardner
Joe Greenfield
Thomas Thies
James Newberry

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9 thoughts on “Should Qatar host the 2022 football world cup?

  1. You’ve covered the facts in a very clear and understandable structure, which is great! However, I can’t really see how this ties in with the professional responsibility of engineers? There is definitely an ethics issue to discuss, but I feel like tying this in with the engineering companies or projects involved with the change in Qatari infrastructure would’ve made the blog a lot more relevant.

    Still, a very interesting read which sheds light onto the happenings in Qatar regarding the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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  2. It’s a really interesting piece and goes beyond the normal analysis on mainstream news, that never really highlights the nuances in a country such as Quatar hosting the world cup. It has made think and revaluate my opinion that Quatar should not host the world cup. What would of made it even more thought provoking is if you’d covered who will really benefit from this particular world cup or indeed any world cup. An analysis of the fairly small number of businesses & shareholders who will ultimately profit from the world cup, could of allowed you to draw out son of the potential moral choices facing engineers taking employment from companies making huge profits at the expense of some peoples human rights. These moral issues may be too implicit or easily ignored in feigned ignorance for many engineers. Great work though.

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  3. The main concern of Qatar hosting the 2022 world cup is the worker’s rights. However, this could be rectified with the right legislation put in place, and procedures to ensure that they are followed, as you have discussed. Therefore, I think that as long as such legislation does occur and is followed, then Qatar should still host the world cup in 2022, as the modern legislation will be a huge advance for the country, as will the economic benefit through hosting the world cup.

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  4. It is so good to see you all taking such an interest. In this decision and as a more senior citizen I am so impressed with both the original text and the comments that followed. None of this is new and has gone on since time began. All progress has been made on the backs of the under dogs who have empty bellies and very little means of doing anything about it. In this country so much of our heritage was paid for by the slave labour of mill workers, miners etc. However nothing has changed by fighting the money but good does come from it eventually. Qatar has a lot of lessons to learn but the eyes of the world are on it as they are on FIFA also and I am confident that the good work that has already started will continue. I therefore think the decision should stand.

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  5. The committee who decides where the football word cup will be held are biased on giving the tournament to countries who have not held it before, with apparently no regard to their attitude to human rights or working conditions. This is as they see it more than just a football tournament, because as we have seen on many occasions sport can break down political and religious barriers. Therefore after the Qatar world cup the country will be better for the new legislation and having the world scrutinise and discuss its attitude to human rights. However a country bidding to host the word cup, should get it house in order before being awarded the world cup tournament not after. So in this case it I believe that Qatar should not have been awarded the 2022 world cup.

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  6. I feel Fifa should have looked into all of the countries applying to hold the world cup prior to any country entering the vote, to ensure they were capable of holding such a large event. I think Fifa need to take responsibility and ensure that Qatar have solved their problems you specified, otherwise they shouldn’t be allowed to carry on.
    However, on the positive side, the engineering work that is going on sounds great, and the fact that it can be shipped to other locations in the developing world after the event would be a great benefit to other countries.

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  7. After much discussion we narrowly agree that Qatar shld hold it. We thought for wats it worth that Blatter did fulfil his legacy of bringing football to the masses. We doubt the legacy will last much beyond the WC but maybe even a little prog is worthwhile.

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  8. Before reading your piece I was against Qatar holding the 2022 World Cup because of the way in which they had been awarded the tournament, the unsuitability of the climate and the issues surrounding the human rights of the workers. If the vote was taken now, after the changes at Fifa, would they have still got the tournament ? However, the positive points changed my opinion slightly and if working conditions improved for all workers in Qatar then some good will have come from this. Removing the stadiums to other countries is a good idea in theory, but based on previous large tournaments legacy ideas it remains to be seen. On balance I don’t think Qatar is the right country to host such an event.

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  9. As a huge football fan since hearing about Qatar winning the bid for hosting the World Cup in 2010 I have been extremely disappointed! The fact that alcohol is illegal and that woman must not show any skin will mean that the atmosphere at the world cup will be rubbish. The World Cup is meant to be about bringing all cultures together to celebrate the game and have a good time. Though I don’t think this is achievable whilst Qatar are hosts as they are prejudice against woman and homosexuals. Their climate will mean that players will struggle to play in the heat and now that it has been moved to the winter months the European leagues will lose valuable players to the competition!!
    Reading this blog has only confirmed my views and made me aware of the atrocities which are currently happening within Qatar. Surely their rights as host must be revoked to save lives and football!

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