Is The 2022 World Cup Destined To Be A Disaster?
There isn’t a more controversial sporting event in history than the 2022 World Cup. The biggest event on the footballing calendar gets underway in less than a year’s time, and still many fans are opting to boycott the event. Granted, there was a backlash when Russia was awarded the 2018 competition, but nothing near the scale of this.
Right from the moment Sepp Blatter uttered the words ‘Qatar’ as the selected host, journalists and experts cried foul play. Those cries were ultimately right, as Michel Platini was arrested by French police, along with a number of other delegates. But, is there any saving the Qatar World Cup next year?
Clear Controversies Take Over Any Action On Pitch
As mentioned, there was a clear backlash to the Russian World Cup before it got underway, but fears that the Russian people wouldn’t be welcoming and unrest could ensue throughout the tournament were quickly dispelled. It was later referred to as one of the greatest World Cups that we have seen in modern history. However, those hoping that the same comments will be made following this tournament in Qatar will have a reality check.
Journalists from huge newspapers such as The Guardian and Sky Sports have already revealed that they will be travelling to the World Cup, as stories centring around the competition need to be covered. That doesn’t just include the action that takes place on the pitch, but also digging underneath what FIFA and organisers want viewers to see and asking the bigger questions.
Human Rights Of Workers
The human rights issues around the World Cup have been two of the biggest controversial factors leading up to the competition next year. Organisers are still refusing to get drawn into a number of deaths that have occurred while constructing the stadiums that will be used, while Amnesty International reported in 2013 that there has been ‘serious exploitation’ of workers.
The Guardian also reported on living conditions of the workers, as Nepalese workers revealed that there had been a death rate of one per day. Videos also shocked fans of the sport, as it showed workers living in labour camps and workers had been promised huge wages but hadn’t been paid for months.
This is something that is believed to have changed in recent weeks, as the International Labour Organization had revealed that Qatar became the first country to introduce a non-discriminatory minimum wage. It was also during this time that workers were able to leave their role at the stadium without asking for permission. However, the number of lives lost during the construction of the stadiums still asks far-reaching questions, as The Guardian reported that over 6,500 lives had been lost.
Will All Fans Be Accepted?
There will be huge questions that fans must ask themselves before traveling to the Qatar World Cup, and that has been another dilemma for those supporters that like to follow their nation around the world. As soon as the World Cup was awarded, there was immediate backlash from the LGBT+ community, as homosexuality is illegal, with years in prison in the punishment.
Blatter did little to help put fans at ease on this point, as he revealed that fans should refrain from ‘sexual activities’. There were calls from the LGBT community to cancel to event, before organisers revealed that they would follow FIFA guidelines of accepting all fans, and also announced that rainbow flags would be welcomed into stadiums.
One other pressing worry that some fans had about the World Cup was the consumption of alcohol. This always looked like an issue that FIFA would get around, as Budweiser are an official sponsor that pay millions to have their product sold at the world’s biggest event. The chief executive of the World Cup bid, Hassan Abdulla al Thawadi, revealed that alcohol could be consumed during the competition, but only in specific fan zones. Alcohol can also only be sold by certain businesses that have a permit. However, as is state law, alcohol can still not be consumed in public areas.
Timing Of The World Cup
In a World Cup littered with controversial moments, one of the issues that has really infuriated fans, as well as every European league around the continent, is the fact that the tournament in 2022 will be staged in the winter. It was revealed in 2015 that the competition would start in November, and run up until December 18th. The Premier League has already announced that the 2022-23 season will resume with Boxing Day fixtures, which means a quick eight-day turnaround from the end of the World Cup to the resumption of the English top-flight.
Of course, a winter World Cup does make sense due to the temperatures being too hot in the summer months, but still, those that would understand that argument would argue that if Qatar isn’t able to host a summer competition, then they probably shouldn’t be hosting it at all. All in all, it has caused havoc with every sporting season around the world, with NFL organisers also reportedly unhappy that the football tournament will be taking its viewership. The Africa Cup of Nations in 2023, featuring Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, has also been delayed until June from its original start point in January.
Is There Any Saving The Qatar World Cup?
In truth, not really. No matter how exciting the World Cup is next year, there will still be questions regarding whether fans felt safe while in Qatar regardless of their sexual orientation, while no sporting event is ever that important that lives can be risked for the enjoyment that could be witnessed. Excitement levels are meant to be high going into a World Cup, with fans daring to dream that this could be their year.
But, going into next year’s event, it is hard to find many fans that are excited about seeing the world’s best players competing for the most illustrious prize in the game. FIFA and organisers will do their best to try and tell viewers how great it is, but don’t let the smokescreen distract you from what has been a disastrous decision made by some of the richest people in the game.