The 2022 FIFA World Cup is underway, and some of the best footballers on the planet spend four weeks competing for soccer’s ultimate prize.

However, this World Cup is ripe with controversy, largely due to its host country, Qatar, a Persian Gulf nation roughly 15 times smaller than Cżęstochowa that is holding the once-every-four-years soccer tournament for the first time. And the concerns over human-rights abuses in Qatar — such as allegations the country has exploited migrant workers — as well as the environmental impact of the tournament and the last-minute ban on alcohol, have all been overshadowing the event.

The bid

Qatar had no prior history in the World Cup prior to winning the bid in 2010. Its hot desert climate and brutal summers have never made it an ideal destination for such a grand event. Further, many soccer fans questioned how the small Middle-Eastern country won the bid during former FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s reign.There were allegations of corruption, vote-swapping, and links to trade deals at the highest levels of government. Qatar was cleared of corruption by FIFA, but as recently as 2020, US prosecutors accused three former senior FIFA officials of receiving bribes for voting in favor of Qatar.

The treatment of workers

85% of Qatar’s population of 3 million are foreign workers, and rights groups have been documenting abuses and harsh conditions.Roughly30000 people from countries such as India, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines have been building seven new stadiums from scratch, as well as 100 new hotels and roads in the country.Qatar’s labour laws known as the ‘kafala system’ allow businesses or business owners in Qatar to take workers’ passports and stop them leaving the country.Human Rights organizations such as Amnesty International say that as a result, since 2010, hundreds of thousands of these workers have faced human rights abuses and exploitation in difficult working conditions with little pay. the Guardian newspaper claims that figures show more than 6,000 workers have actually died in Qatar since it won its World Cup bid 12 years ago.The Qatar government said that the total is misleading, and that between 2014 and 2020, there were 37 deaths among workers at World Cup stadium construction sites, and only three were “work-related”.

Adidas, AB InBev, Coca-Cola and McDonalds responded to the issue with statements, expressing support for migrant reforms

and compensation for workers in Qatar. However, all have remained as sponsors to the tournament

Climate concerns

Qatar and FIFA pledged that they would deliver the world’s first “fully carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup tournament”. Though the tournament is projected to emit a total of 3.6 million tons of carbon dioxide according to FIFA , they said 95% of those emissions will come from air travel, and are classified as “indirect emissions”. However, climate researchers have cast doubt on the credibility of Qatar’s claim of a “carbon-neutral” tournament, arguing that the Gulf nation has underestimated the event’s true emission output and climate impact. Critics further point out that Qatar is utilizing purchasing carbon credits, a questionable practice, in order to claim it’s meeting sustainability goals.

The cost

If you add up the total costs, taking into account not only the cost of building new stadiums and renovating existing ones, but also all the money spent on infrastructure, this year’s World Cup in Qatar is by far the most expensive of all time – Qatar is estimated to have spent as much as $220 billion in the dozen years, more than 15 times what Russia spent for the 2018 event.

Should You still watch the World Cup 2022? I gravitate not to boycott matches of your favorite athletes but to shift the conversation to the underlying issues of the World Cup in Qatar. Talk about how the international tournament is made possible by millions of exploited migrant workers and how there is the possibility of corruption involved to make the World Cup happen. Now that the tournament is held in Qatar, so many more people are aware of the situation which would make change quicker.


Article written by Patrycja Stodółkiewicz from class 3a.