As the World Cup begins in Qatar, questions have been raised about how Qatar won the rights to hold a sporting event of this size, especially after 12 years of preparation which, despite the length of time, was not enough to adequately show Qatar the magnitude of the event, especially with its little football history where no World Cup copy has ever been seen before. Qatar has lost – in record number – its opening match, which is the first time the host country has lost its first match.
Years of failure
According to CNN, Qatar has never participated in the World Cup, and it became the first host country to lose the opening match of the tournament after a 2-0 defeat to Ecuador. In 12 years, Qatar has not prepared well for the tournament, and has completely distorted its image inside and outside the soccer community. When Qatar was selected to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010, it was chosen before bids from the United States, South Korea, Japan, and Australia, during the bidding process.
It faced several hurdles as FIFA cited concerns in technical reports, including a lack of existing infrastructure and the extreme heat of the region in the summer, where World Cup tournaments are traditionally held. It added that 12 years later, FIFA felt its mistake, as Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup is not what the world expected. The country is very small, it does not have enough hotels to host fans, and the weather is very hot, in addition to the chaos of organizing and the departure of fans from the first day of the tournament due to the very bad stay, in addition to the forefront of labor crises and human rights violations of titles, which the enthusiasm of football did not succeed in erasing.
Bribery and corruption
According to the US network, Qatar has a population of less than three million, which is smaller than the population of the US state of Connecticut, where Qatar invested billions in the soccer infrastructure in preparation for the 2022 tournament, but questions about how Qatar won the right to host the World Cup continue. As recently as March 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice claimed that bribes had been accepted by senior officials as part of the vote to elect Qatar as host of the tournament in 2022, and the Department of Justice has been investigating for years allegations of corruption in international football, including the involvement of FIFA officials, so far more than two dozen convictions have been issued and some cases are ongoing. “It supports all investigations into alleged criminal acts in relation to domestic or international football competitions and will continue to provide full cooperation to law enforcement officials investigating such matters,” said a statement from FIFA in April 2020.
Human rights violations
“Qatar’s human rights record was one of the main drawbacks of the global sporting event, especially for migrant workers, especially as Qatar had minimal infrastructure at the time it won the rights to host the World Cup: seven new stadiums were built before the tournament, as well as new hotels and expansions for the country’s airport, railway networks and highways.” This has led to reliance on Qatari migrant workers, who represent 90% of the total workforce, according to Amnesty International. Since 2010, many migrant workers have faced respectively delayed or unpaid wages, forced labor, long hours in hot weather, intimidation of their employer, and an inability to leave their jobs because of the country’s sponsorship system, human rights organizations have found.