Uncertainty Mounts on 2022 World Cup
September 28, 2014
There has been nothing but controversy surrounding the 2022 World Cup since FIFA announced in December of 2010 that Qatar had won the right to host the world’s largest sporting event. Many have expressed a desire to see the World Cup relocated over concerns with the extreme heat, alleged human rights violations, and accusations of corruption and bribery. According to CBC, even FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger expressed that “I personally think that, in the end, the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar”.
One of the biggest concerns was the terrible working conditions of tens of thousands of migrant workers that were building infrastructure for the games. According to CBC, the International Labour Organization stated that many human rights abuses continue to occur in Qatar, including allegations of “appalling working conditions and outright slavery”. In May, the government of Qatar had admitted that at least 964 workers had died in World Cup projects. (thestar.com)
Not only that, FIFA has faced accusations of corruption on the bid for the tournament. The Sunday Times alleged that football officials were paid £3 million in return for supporting the bid for the 2022 World Cup to be hosted in Qatar. (bbc.com)
Another thing to take into consideration is the extreme heat. In the summer, temperatures in Qatar often rise above 40 degrees Celsius. Although Qatar insists that the heat won’t be a problem thanks to cooling technology for the stadiums, training areas and fan zones, some people are still concerned about the potentially dangerous temperatures to players and fans. (cbc.ca) Some have entertained the idea of holding the Cup in the winter, but that would disrupt the domestic leagues around the world that would already be underway.
Even though the rational decision would be to relocate the event, CBC states that Qatar’s executive director of communications, Nasser Al Khater, remains firm in his stance that “Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022”. Perhaps Zwanziger’s prediction will come true and FIFA will realize their mistake. If not, maybe one day FIFA’s decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be regarded as the worst decision made by a Sports Governing Body in history.