Fifa World Cup Qatar Controversies, Explained

by Matina Green(’26)

This year, Qatar hosted the 2022 Fifa World Cup

The Fifa World Cup (or just World Cup) is a huge, national soccer tournament that occurs every four years, and is also one of the most popular sporting events in the world with billions of viewers from all over the world. But while the World Cup is well-known and a treasure to all our sports lovers, many fans are upset over the fact that it is being held in Qatar, a small country located on the Arabian Peninsula with a supposedly corrupt government. Qatar has been known to have many rules, many of which have sparked controversies regarding the tournament and the visitors. Here is a breakdown of some of these controversies:

Qatar bribes Fifa

Back in December 2010, Qatar was permitted to host the 2022 World Cup. However, Qatar was not in the appropriate conditions to host a large sporting event at the time because of a lack of infrastructure (not enough stadiums and hotels), unbearably humid climates, and its extremely small population that was potentially too small to hold such a major sporting event. Many were puzzled over why the nation was selected to host the tournament, and in March 2020, allegations were made that Qatar had placed a 3 million dollar bribe on Fifa officials to allow them to host. However these allegations were soon cleared, and it was concluded that Qatar – being the first nation in the Middle East to host – had just wanted to “promote more soccer in new regions of the world”.

Many migrant workers in Qatar were abused in preparation for the World Cup

Going back to the topic with Qatar’s alleged bribery, there was minimal infrastructure – there weren’t enough stadiums to hold the event, and not enough hotels, roads, and airports for the many spectators that would come to watch. Because of this, Qatar had to heavily rely on its migrant workers to build a stadium for the tournament to take place, forcing them into working hard labor in extremely hot conditions and costing many lives. On November 21, Germany took time to remember the workers, and lit 20,000 candles in honor of at least 65,000 lives lost in the process of building the stadium and calling it “The bloodiest #WorldCup there has ever been”.

Discrimination against LGBTQ+ rights

Any romantic affairs with the same gender is illegal in Qatar and can lead up to three years in prison. According to Qatar’s Supreme Committee (SC), Qatar is committed to “an inclusive and discriminatory-free World Cup” and “Everyone is welcome in Qatar, but we are a conservative country and any public display of affection, regardless of orientation, is frowned upon. We simply ask for people to respect our culture”. Originally, the captains from the several European soccer teams were going to wear ‘OneLove’ armbands, which promotes inclusion towards the LGBTQ+ community. However, due to a warning from FIFA that the captains would “receive yellow cards” if they wore the armbands, the captains could no longer display them at the tournament. This sparked frustration and disappointment among the teams and the spectators, and raised a lot of questioning about whether or not it was a good decision to let Qatar host.

Alcohol ban

Budweiser has been a longtime sponsor for the World Cup, and beer and soccer have been good, longtime friends; this year, things took a turn when Qatar placed a ban on having any alcoholic drinks at the tournament just two days before. Budweiser had originally signed a 75 million pound (100,000,000 USD) contract with Qatar and prepared to send countless packages of beer for spectators to enjoy. Now, Budweiser is left to give the beer to the team that wins the World Cup. As for the fans, people are left shocked and angry. German fan Daniel Schwestka said in regards to the ban, “Football [soccer] without beer isn’t football.”

Yet despite these issues going on, Qatar still remains the host for the 2022 Fifa World Cup, and the tournament still remains as one of the most beloved sporting events in the world.

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