Commotion in Qatar

Qatari Officials Under Fire About Possible Human Rights Violations


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Game on: Players take the pitch for a soccer competition, December 2022.

          In the scorching Qatari heat, thousands of workers prepare for the biggest soccer tournament on Earth: The World Cup. However, thousands of workers have reportedly lost their lives while on the job. Qatari officials continue to claim only 37 workers died, but the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) executives estimate the number of deaths is approximately 6,500.

          The guest workers were from countries including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Construction of the stadiums began in November 2013 and was completed in December of 2020. When Qatar was first awarded to host the World Cup in 2010, citizens of the capital, Doha, took to the streets and celebrated their victory. It was not long until the death toll started climbing.

          The men’s World Cup occurs every four years and is located in a different country each time. FIFA chooses the venue several years in advance so the host country has time to build stadiums and prepare for the event. Qatar is the smallest nation in history to host a World Cup. For nearly a century the World Cup has been the most viewed sports broadcast in the world. Billions of fans from all over the globe come together to watch their favorite soccer players in a truly awe-inspiring event. 

          Soccer enthusiast and student Gavin Conte says the alleged death toll is at odds with what the World Cup represents. “It is not beneficial to the game,” he says, “and it is not what the world cup should stand for.” 

          Not only have these allegations caused controversy, they have also had an impact on the viewers watching the World Cup. Foran High School Latin teacher, Mrs Valleau, states, “It definitely gave me a different perspective on the World Cup in Qatar; I think it’s important to remember that those buildings and the infrastructure did not just magically appear. Many people lost their lives and many are suffering long-term detrimental health effects from terrible conditions under which they were working.”

          Adding to the long list of allegations, there has been a massive amount of questions surrounding the decision to give Qatar the privilege to host the World Cup to begin with. Although FIFA executives claim the process surrounding the decision is 100% democratic and is held with a vote, many officials believe that Qatari government officials bribed former top FIFA officials to receive the honor. 

          Looking back on it, former FIFA President Sepp Blathers says in an interview with Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, “Awarding Qatar a World Cup was a mistake” and adds that “the choice was bad.”