The problems and controversies of Qatar 2022

The preparations for the FIFA World Cup in the arabic country were and are involved in various inconveniences and tragedies .

Soccer ball on a playing field.

World Cup in Qatar, for the first time in history, will be held at the end of the year, due to the high summer temperatures in the northern hemisphere. Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: Los problemas y controversias de Qatar 2022

Every 4 years, the world is involved in perhaps the most important sporting event: the Soccer World Cup. The truth is that the next one, in Qatar, will be different for several reasons. One of them lies in the date: for the first time in history it will be done at the end of the year, due to the high summer temperatures in the arabic nation.

However, the differences do not end there. The election of this historic venue (it will be the first time it will be held in a Middle Eastern country ) was tainted with suspicions of corruption. On December 2, 2010, then-FIFA President Joseph Blatter revealed that the venue for the 2022 World Cup would be this small nation on the Arabian peninsula. However, some time later the "Qatargate" was uncovered, in which suspicions of bribery were generated to favor the election of the emirate, to the point where Michel Platini himself was arrested.

Reportedly, Qatar's top soccer executive until 2011 - and president of the Asian Confederation - Mohamed bin Hamman, paid up to $ 3.6 million to some 30 FIFA members to secure the bid. Later, the controversies continued with the setting up of the event's stages. Qatar 2022 had some "labor disputes", in which several people died.

The problems of Qatar 2022

To understand this situation better, it is necessary to understand the dimensions of an event with these characteristics. To receive so many tourists from around the world, countries must be prepared. For this reason, in Qatar they are building stadiums with capacities for thousands of people, large hotels, an airport and several skyscrapers , with the aim of improving the capacity of a country that is not used to receiving so many people.

For this reason, in the rich emirate they need manpower. In this sense, thousands of workers migrated to the country in search of job opportunities… although not in the best conditions. Low wages and big heat waves are some of the problems builders experience. Additionally, several have died from work-related accidents linked to the precarious security conditions in these infrastructure projects.

According to the British media The Guardian, some 6,500 workers who arrived from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have died since the country was elected to host the 2022 World Cup. According to government sources, there is an average of 12 workers in these Asian regions die each week .

It is even said that the real number of workers who have lost their lives would be much higher, since the figures do not include all the deceased who come from other regions, such as the Philippines or Kenya. In the same way, the last months of 2020 are not present, nor what we have in 2021, which is why we would be talking about a serious structural problem in order to meet the requirements and schedule for this celebration.

The controversy occurs because, according to the Washington Post, not necessarily all the dead workers were doing their activities linked to the World Cup. The Government of Qatar itself assured in 2015 that the deaths of foreign workers were not related to the construction of the buildings for the World Cup, although The Guardian denies this information.

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In most cases, deaths are due to falls from height, suffocation and undetermined causes of death , which would be related to precarious employment conditions. However, from the emirate they defend themselves and argue that the number of deaths does not have to do with labor problems, but with the direct proportionality of the size of the migrant workforce.

In other words, Qatar seemed unprepared for an event of such magnitude, so it has had to prepare by generating unprecedented construction and on a strict schedule. Remember that, for the World Cup in Brazil, there were about 10 confirmed deaths at the time of building the stadiums .

Although the Qatar 2022 World Cup will be historic for what it represents that the biggest soccer event reaches this part of the planet, the country should generate much safer working conditions to guarantee the health of the workforce, mostly foreign. Otherwise, the Cup could be tainted by the tragedy of many workers.