FIFA's choice of Qatar as host for the 2022 Football (soccer) World Cup caused great controversy: alleged bribery, poor conditions of migrant workers, lack of democracy, disruption of European domestic tournaments. But what should we do about it?
Qatar shocked the world by beating the US, Australia, Japan and South Korea in the race to host the 2022 Football World Cup. Qatar bid had some very positive aspects, such as, modern and beautiful stadiums and facilities, low criminality rates, good airport connection for Europe and Asia, and the potential for becoming a catalyst for positive change in the region.
The Qatar 2022 World Cup controversy
The choice of Qatar as host by FIFA has become a heated topic of debate. Since the very beginning the election of Qatar was controversial. All European countries were excluded from the 2022 World Cup bid. Then, some critics argued that the choice of Russia and Qatar as hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments served to legitimize non-democratic governments. Most importantly soon after the election, allegations of vote buying arose. Some media outlets reported that a Qatari official paid more than $5 million in an attempt to secure his country's successful bid to host the 2022 Cup. Two members of the FIFA executive members were suspended and an internal ethics investigation was conducted. Although the conclusions of the report were not made public.
The life and labor conditions of the migrant workers involved in the construction of the stadiums have become another source of criticisms for Qatar 2022. It seems that hundreds of migrant workers have been killed in workplace accidents.
In addition to the bribery and corruption scandals, and the death toll among migrant workers, the Qatar World Cup project is now facing a new wave of criticism linked to hold the tournament during winter. An evaluation report warned of the health and safety risks for the players and spectators linked to the heat in Qatar. FIFA has finally announced that the World Cup will start in late November and conclude on 18 December 2022. This is unusual since in the past all World Cups were held between May and July. The new calendar threatens to disrupt all major European football club competitions. The fixtures of the 2022-2023 season in the Premier League, Spanish Liga, Bundesliga, etc. would have to be rescheduled. This will also impact players’ performances and their physical preparation for the rest of the season. The clubs and the organizers of the domestic football leagues are not willing to bear these costs. How is FIFA or Qatar going to compensate for them? Many are already claiming that the boycott is probably a good solution.
What should we do in the end?
To summarize, the debate about Qatar 2022 is still heating up. The bribery suspicions, the non-democratic character of the government, the alarming death toll among migrant workers, as well as the plans to play in winter have created great concern among football (soccer) organizations and the public. But what should we do? Should clubs and domestic competitions make an effort and accept the winter World Cup in Qatar? Should the tournament take place in Qatar but in spring or summer time? Should FIFA choose another host country? Or should we simply boycott the Qatar World Cup to force a change in FIFA?
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Heating up: the Qatar 2022 Football World Cup controversy. Play in winter, summer, change host or boycott?
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