Ecuador opened the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a resounding victory against tournament hosts Qatar, prevailing 2-0 in the first match of the competition. However, there is controversy, or should we say controversies, lurking beneath the cheers of football fans and the fascination of the footballing show. Qatar was selected to host the World Cup on December 2nd, 2010, and the announcement was made public. 4372 days later, the first match of the tournament took place; nevertheless, from the very beginning of the competition, it has been mired in a variety of controversial issues from the very beginning.
From the procedure for selecting hosts to claims of corruption, the death of migrant laborers, and the recent restriction on the sale of alcohol. There are also problems with the tournament’s schedule currently being planned out. The tournament is being hosted during the winter for the very first time in its history, which has resulted in a conflict with the normal domestic season in a number of different nations.
Another topic that has stoked the flames of controversy is the possible reception that members of the LGBTQ community may have in Qatar. Fans are worried despite the fact that the Qatari government have provided assurances that they would be secure. According to sharia law, homosexuality is punished by a fine, three years in jail, and the possibility of the death sentence for Muslims.
In light of this, let’s take a look at the many scandals that have surrounded the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
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Officials at FIFA were paid to choose Qatar as the host country.
At the beginning of the vote process for the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, there were a few countries that stood out as potential winners. There was the United States of America, which had previously hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1994; there was Japan and South Korea, which had co-hosted the World Cup in 2002 and now possessed the infrastructure necessary to host the event on their own; and there was also Qatar, which had previously hosted the World Cup in 2010. There was also the nation of Australia, as well as Qatar. With all of the factors working against it, very few people gave Qatar any chance of winning the bid.
The nation was not known for its illustrious history in football, and it lacked the necessary infrastructure to host an event of this size. However, the country on the Gulf was successful in its request. Later on, it was revealed that numerous members of the Executive Committee of FIFA had taken bribes in order to vote in favor of Qatar.
Now, Sepp Blatter, who was President of FIFA back then, has admitted that it was a mistake to give Qatar the rights to host the tournament. He has even said that Qatar had won the deal via the use of covert operations. Investigations conducted by a number of different media outlets have led to the discovery that Qatar engaged private security contractors in order to unlawfully gather information on the bids of other countries.
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Accidental Deaths of Migrant Workers and the Kafala system
The precarious position of migrant workers is one of the most serious problems that has dogged preparations for the World Cup. When it was announced that Qatar had won the bid for the World Cup, the country did not have any of the necessary infrastructure in place. Therefore, the whole structure needed to be erected within 10 years, which was an enormous job. This requires a large workforce, and rather inexpensive labor at that.
As a result, Qatar initiated a broad immigration strategy as a large number of individuals arrived from south Asia in the nation. The Kafala system is how these laborers were able to enter the nation legally. Under this system, each worker is required to have an in-country sponsor, who is often their employer. This sponsor is accountable for the worker’s visa and legal status. Because of this, the workers are at the mercy of the one who is paying for their visas.
In addition, there were other migrant laborers who passed away while the building was being constructed. According to a number of different estimations, the number of fatalities might be anywhere from 6,500 and 15,000. On top of that, reports have surfaced suggesting that the families of the employees who passed away as a result of the negligent disregard for safety rules were not compensated in any way. This is due to the fact that the causes of these deaths have been determined to be natural, and according to Qatari legislation, a natural death does not qualify for any kind of compensation.
Alcohol Ban u-turn
Budweiser, which is recognized as one of the most important brands of alcoholic beverages in the world, is one of the primary sponsors for the FIFA World Cup. Despite this, Qatar has one of the most stringent restrictions in the world regarding the selling of alcoholic beverages. Additionally, it is the first time that a nation from the Islamic world has hosted the World Cup. Alcohol use is restricted to visitors from other countries and Qatari citizens who do not practice Islam.
However, in order to host the FIFA World Cup, a country must be willing to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages. And previously, Qatar said that there will be alcoholic beverages for sale on the grounds of the stadium, but not inside the venue itself, for spectators who had bought tickets. The hours of service for the alcoholic beverages were from 6:30 pm till 1:00 am.
Therefore, supporters traveled to Qatar with the expectation of locating alcohol throughout the event. However, only two days before the start of the World Cup, the authorities in Qatar outlawed the sale of alcohol anywhere near the grounds of the stadium. As a result of the recently passed legislation, alcoholic drinks will no longer be sold inside the stadium. However, patrons of FIFA’s executive box, which has a price tag of 19,000 British pounds a ticket, will have access to alcoholic beverages.
Fans will still be able to purchase food, non-alcoholic beverages such as Budweiser Zero, and soft drinks. Fans that wish to drink alcohol are required to do so inside the confines of the venue, and they may only do so in licensed bars.
Additionally, Qatar has imposed a sin tax on all alcoholic drinks sold in the country. Because of this, the cost of a pint of beer is now somewhere between 13 and 17 euros. On the other hand, FIFA has announced that, after agreements with the local authorities, beer would be made accessible at a discounted price during certain time periods during the World Cup.
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Concerns about the safety of LGBTQ people
According to Qatari law, homosexuality is considered a felony that may result in a sentence of up to three years in jail, a fine, and even the possibility of the death penalty if the accused is a Muslim. Fans are still unclear if it is safe to go there, despite the fact that authorities from Qatar have said that individuals of all races, faiths, and sexual orientations are welcome there.
“Everyone is welcome in Qatar, but we are a conservative society, and any public expression of love, regardless of orientation,” was noted in a statement released by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), which is responsible for Qatar’s infrastructure projects. Simply put, we ask that people have some regard for our heritage.
On the other hand, Khalid Salman, a former player from Qatar who is now an ambassador for the World Cup, has said that homosexuality causes “harm in the psyche.” Because of this, there is now an atmosphere in which people who identify as LGBTQ are required to conceal their sexual orientation.
They are concerned that if others find out about their sexuality, they will be the target of assaults of all kinds, including verbal and physical violence.
“If he (a fan) raised the rainbow flag and I took it from him, it’s not because I really want to, really, take it, to really insult him, but to protect him,” Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari said, according to the Associated Press. “If he (a fan) raised the rainbow flag and I took it from him, it’s not because I really want to, really, take it, to really insult him,” Al Ansari said. “Because if it’s not me, then someone else surrounding him may assault (him)… I am unable to take responsibility for the actions of the whole population. I will also urge him, “Please, there is no actual need to raise that flag at this moment.”