World Cup: Should it Really be in Qatar?

Jake Reynders, Sports Writer

In three weeks, the world’s biggest sporting event will take place in one of the world’s most stringent countries. A country where its citizens are killed. A country where people with same-sex relations are jailed for up to seven years. A country where women require permission to marry.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is surrounded by controversy. When the small Middle Eastern nation was selected as host in 2010, a project that would change the lives of thousands began. A project that would cost 229 billion dollars and kill over 6,500 migrant workers in the process.

Over the past 12 years, 30,000 foreign laborers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and the Philippines have arrived in Qatar to construct seven state-of-the-art stadiums. In search of better pay, these men have left their families to enter a country that puts their lives in danger.

Qatar has a labor system known as Kafala, which has been described as a modern-day form of slavery. Essentially, it ties migrant workers’ legal status in the country to their employers. Examples of Kafala include frequent passport confiscations, unpaid wages, and massive recruitment fees that leave workers in debt for years. Kafala also bans absconding, meaning workers require the permission of their employers to leave their jobs. Along with these heavy restrictions, the living conditions provided for these migrant workers have drawn wide criticism. Workers are forced into tight, poorly built quarters with limited clean water and multiple hazardous situations.

Mohammad Shahid Miah, a 23-year-old man from Bangladesh, was asleep in his labor camp when water from heavy rains flooded his living quarters. The water made contact with exposed electricity cables, electrocuting and killing him.

With the growing calls for relocation, the attention turns to FIFA. When they decided on Qatar as host, they knew the country’s laws and human rights policies. They knew of the civil injustice going on in the country, and despite their supposed firm stance against homophobia and human rights violations, they chose Qatar against all moral ethics.

12 years ago, FIFA made a decision that would change the public perception of soccer for years to come. People would be killed, lives would be altered, and protests would be held. Despite this, FIFA has been in this for the money all along, without any regard for the effect it has had on thousands of lives. Although there is so much uncertainty ahead, one thing is clear: Qatar does not deserve to host the 2022 World Cup.