By Jack Patmore.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup drew to a close with Lionel Messi finally getting his hands on the World Cup — adding to his magnificent trophy-laden mantelpiece.
This World Cup was one of the best yet — 172 goals, many surprising upsets and high levels of drama, it was certainly one to remember.
However, the off-field issues still remain. The migrant workers that built the stadiums and Qatar being awarded the World Cup in the first place are just two examples of problems that surrounded this tournament.
It all started in 2010 when FIFA selected Qatar to be the host of the 2022 World Cup. It was set to be the first Arab country to host a World Cup but issues with it being played there began to become clear. The nation can have temperatures of around 40°C during summer which the players would struggle to play in.
The decision was made in 2015 that the tournament would be moved to the cooler months of November and December which would bring domestic and European competitions to a halt. This would mean more fixture congestion for clubs in the second half of their season.
Counties including Australia, Japan, South Korea and the USA bid to host the World Cup but Qatar, despite being in the lower echelons of the FIFA world rankings, were made hosts.
Over a million fans from across the globe came to watch the 2022 World Cup. This meant a lot of accommodation had to be built in preparation for the tournament. Images of the accommodation were shared on social media and it was very expensive for a compact room where a lot of other fans would be staying.
Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president when Qatar were chosen to host the World Cup, even admitted that it was a mistake to award Qatar as the host for the 2022 World Cup.
This was mainly due to the mistreatment of migrant workers who had helped to build the stadiums. These migrant workers were continuously working in the soaring heat and their living conditions were very unsafe. According to Forbes, Qatar spent over $200 Billion on the World Cup and a lot of the stadiums that you would have seen over the past month are not going to be used for football purposes again.
The number of reported migrant worker deaths has varied hugely on the construction of the stadiums. These migrant workers have been exploited and they have had very little income from work on the stadiums. Seven of the eight stadiums had to be built for the world’s biggest tournament while the Khalifa International Stadium had to be refurbished.
In a country that has a population of around three million people, women have to request permission from their male guardians to travel and work. Also, being in a same-sex relationship is not accepted in the gulf state which was another issue when a vast number of visitors from around the world were going to come to this small nation.
In summary, this World Cup was a magnificent spectacle on the pitch. However, FIFA shouldn’t have awarded Qatar the World Cup in the first place mainly due to its poor treatment of migrant workers.
The majority of the stadiums that have hosted the games in the last month will now be turned into things like schools and hospitals. While Stadium 974, the stadium made with 974 shipping containers, will be recycled.
The conversation about Qatar, the World Cup and issues around possible sportswashing cannot end.