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Qatar: Gone Too Far?

The location of the World Cup has caused controversy due to some humanitarian and cultural concerns.

By Kaitlyn Bell

“This year’s games involved some ‘under the table’ deals that go against universal morals...”

During the past month, a large number of people from all over the world have been glued to their

screens to watch live World Cup matches. Though most of the world has devoted their attention to the matches, others have drawn their attention to the humanitarian and cultural issues that some believe to have been swept under the rug. Being that this year’s World Cup is the first to be held in a Middle Eastern and Muslim country, many have brought up questions regarding restrictions and controversies.

Dating back to the bidding process to host the World Cup, overseen by the Fédération

Internationale de Football Association, there have been a number of flags raised about Qatar. To choose a host country, FIFA holds an extensive bidding and voting process that interested countries must go through in order to be chosen. During the process, Qatar was considered “high-risk” due to a lack of infrastructure and the country’s summer climate. To utilize this location, the World Cup was moved to the winter. Qatar was chosen to host as opposed to other countries such as the United States, South Korea and more. Many were left shocked and feeling suspicious towards FIFA, claiming possible bribery by Qatari officials.

Another issue that has been brought to light is the treatment of migrant workers who built the stadiums for the event. Qatar stated that they hired about 30,000 migrant workers from countries such as India, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Philippines for the construction of seven new stadiums, an airport, a metro system, roads and approximately 100 new hotels. Many human rights groups have criticized the Gulf State and accused its government of systematic labor abuses; some even claim that over 6,500 workers have died since Qatar agreed to host. Following the death of a Filipino worker at a training site during the World Cup, Nasser al-Khaterdeath, chief executive of the World Cup, stated, “death is a natural part of life – whether it’s at work, whether it’s in your sleep.” This statement generated doubt regarding the World Cup administration and raised questions about the number of occupational deaths within Qatar. The International Labour Organization has made note of these concerns and addressed issues such as wages, occupational accidents and changes in the kafala system.

Prior to the beginning of the games, Budweiser had a commercial sponsorship deal with FIFA which would show an extensive amount of advertising for Budweiser and allow them to exclusively sell their alcohol at the eight World Cup stadiums. Days before the opening game, Qatar revoked its decision to allow alcohol to be sold at the games, costing Budweiser $75 million. Being that Qatar is considered a conservative country and already has restrictions on the purchasing of alcohol, this decision did not come as a shock to some. Ultimately, Budweiser decided to ship the surplus of alcohol to the future winner of the tournament.

Many students at New Hyde Park had an opinion regarding the situation and how Qatar’s culture affects the World Cup this year.

“Everyone is focused on the World Cup, meanwhile, no one seems to really care what is

happening behind the scenes. The culture in Qatar definitely changes the way the World Cup is viewed this year,” seventh grader Brayden Bell said.

“The incident was really bad on Qatar's part. They promised Budweiser would be the sole

beer sponsor for the World Cup and then do a full 180 about it right before the tournament. Budweiser should be compensated for that entirely,” junior Jaden Barroso said. “On the slave labor, what more can you say about it; it’s entirely wrong, and Qatar should definitely be held responsible for it, as well as FIFA for allowing this to take place in the first place.”

Source by Guneet Hanjra

The tug-of-war between support for the LGBTQIA+ community and Qatar's no-tolerance policies has left World Cup viewers conflicted.

“Even though the World Cup is a great opportunity for national pride and watching an

interesting game, I personally believe the countries and corporations involved in the World Cup are very corrupt, and this year’s games involved some ‘under the table’ deals that go against universal morals,” junior Georgina Giannatsis said.

Another reason many were apprehensive about Qatar hosting the tournament this year

was because of the laws against same-sex relations within the country. These laws punish homosexuality with a prison sentence. FIFA stated that players wearing OneLove rainbow armbands intended to promote inclusivity would be penalized. Consequently, European players chose not to wear these armbands.

“I think that Qatar officials should've never offered to host, considering the strict policies

and societal standards in their country, which exclude and target a portion of the soccer fan community who happen to be part of the LGBTQ community as well,” junior Sarah Munson said. “The fact that many fans won't go because of a concern for their life and well-being is a major problem that unnecessarily exists. Enjoying your favorite sport shouldn't put your life in danger because a country is conservative and most likely won't do its best to protect LGBTQ fans.”

As the World Cup continues to ignite anticipation in the realm of professional soccer, many socioeconomic controversies remain.

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