By Andreas Gkoumplias,
Around a decade ago, it was announced by FIFA that the 2020 World Cup would be hosted in Qatar. While the hype and the excitement were huge, the COVID-19 pandemic stroke and all sport-related events were originally postponed until further notice. Eventually, the event was scheduled for the winter of 2022, making it the very first World Cup to be hosted in the winter due to the high temperatures in the summer in Qatar. At first, after the excitement faded away, many questions arose, contemplating and discussing whether an uprising power like Qatar would be the most suitable host for such a major sporting event. As days go by and more and more updates come to us from Qatar, regarding slavery accusations, migrant worker deaths, and downright complete violation of human rights, the decision from FIFA to award this kind of event to Qatar seems more than questionable.
To begin with, the World Cup event is hosted every 4 years and concerns all the national teams in the world that have to go through a series of qualification matches to be finally qualified for the big tournament. It is the most prestigious football event that there is, and it is always a great honor for each country to get to participate in the so-called “celebration of football”. With that being said, it is the dream of every football enthusiast to get to watch their team participate in this particular event. A dream so strong, that many are willing to disregard the blood, sweat, and tears shed by thousands of workers to make the realization of the event possible.
Since day one of the events being awarded to Qatar, news regarding the adverse working conditions, the violations of human rights, and a lot of worker deaths started arriving at us and making news headlines all over the world. Of course, both FIFA and Qatar itself tried to disprove all accusations and make it all seem like a huge lie. A recent report by Sam Cunningham, a writer for news online, seems to be putting the final nail in the coffin, reporting 24,000 workers suffering abuse, awful living conditions, and poverty, proving that the human cost for this World Cup is much bigger and the reality is far harsher than we all thought it would be.
It is widely known that the workforce is, especially for big companies, considered to be disposable. Human life to some people means less than it should, especially when everything revolves around money. The cheaper the workforce, the more disposable and replaceable they are, and that cycle keeps on going until someone breaks it. Every life matters and that is the message we need to send out and let be heard by everyone. In my opinion, although damage is already done and those lives gone cannot come back, this should be a harsh lesson to FIFA and to the whole wide world: next time, for the hosting of major events countries that are truly ready and capable of hosting those without significant problems (because there will always be problems) in the process, should be picked.
To sum it all up, the event of the World Cup brought into the spotlight an issue we all knew existed. Violation of human rights is existent in our everyday lives, no matter whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. The reported cases of worker abuse, horrible working conditions, failure to pay wages on time and many more have only proven right those questioning the decision to make Qatar the host country for the World Cup. Incapability to properly support those that strive to make ends meet and make an event possible and attainable not only gives the ability to others to criticize you, government, or organization alike, but proves the critical failure of the whole concept. Alas, for the majority of people, the amount of wealth that exists in countries like Qatar cannot make up for the loss of human lives, whether it is in the process of creating something great or not.
- Qatar 2022: The available FIFA World Cup tickets after receiving 40 million applications, mscfootball.com, Available here
- World Cup 2022 group stage draw: When, how to watch and stream live, plus seeding pots, goal.com, Available here
- Qatar: 24,000 workers have suffered human rights abuses on World Cup 2022 projects, campaign group reveals, inews.co.uk, Available here