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.
- Due to the low population of Qatar and shortage of skilled construction workers, many workers were sourced from overseas. These workers have had the following human rights breached, as was partially found by amnesty over several research missions:
- 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.