The world has been upset for the past several years with 2010 news that Qatar is going to host the 2020 FIFA World Cup. Many reasons speak against it, and many wonder how come that Qatar was voted as host country. Many believe that it is going to be a FIFA disaster and that many things have to be turned upside down affecting the whole football world and many domestic national competitions, some of which will have to be postponed.
There are numerous factors and one does not know where to begin with. Even if FIFA was also known in the past for different scandalous decisions, corruption, unethical behaviour, etc., it seems that this time the line has been crossed and many are embittered with the bidding procedure, the FIFA committee, FIFA, and Qatar.
To put it simple, Qatar was accused of having manipulated the FIFA voting committee by paying bribes. According to one of the Qatar’s bidding team members, Qatar paid millions of dollars to influential people who could turn the tide into Qatar’s favor. To many, it is highly irrational that Qatar got the privilege, since other countries like USA, Australia, Japan, etc., had far better outlooks to seal the bidding deal. Qatar was also mostly rated as moderate to highly risky in several voting rounds. It is no wonder that other officials and the public started to question the reasons behind FIFA’s decision. Qatar is unfit to host the event for a series of reasons. let us name some of them.
FIFA’s reaction to the allegations is somewhat vague, as if they try to cover up for the Middle East country. It did engage in some investigations, but the investigations allegedly did not prove anything, and they were conducted sloppy. Other investigations are also running, but so far no solid evidence has been found (allegedly). The final statement comes down to if they find something against Qatar it will be dismissed as a host, and if not, everything is going to unfold as planned.
The Lack of Facilities
Qatar is a very small country with a population of 1.9 million, and as such, it automatically seems unreal to provide accommodation for the many people who will fly out to Qatar for the games. Qatar justifies itself that their population will reach above 2 million by 2020 and that they will come up with the accommodation and necessary facilities for the Cup.
When we say facilities, we do not only think of hotels, motels, and other accommodation facilities, but also stadiums. No Qatari stadium is currently big enough to host more than 25,000 people. The three main stadiums are under construction for the past few years in order to extend the capacity to 40,000-60,000 seats. It seems that Qatar is using the opportunity to reconstruct the entire country, to develop infrastructure, to promote Qatar as a tourism destination, and to finally strengthen its global position. At least, Qatar has the money to do so, since they are one of the richest countries in the world, but we all know that FIFA participates in funding the project. Qatar is also not keeping its words in terms of number of stadiums. They had stated to build or reconstruct en, but now suddenly, they say it is going to be eight stadiums.
The Lusail City, which is supposed to host the final match does not even exist yet. The city will be built and that is going to cost a lot of money, $45 billion to be exact. How Qatar is going to pull this, nobody knows.
The Treatment of Foreign Workers
The construction project includes many foreign workers from poorer countries like Nepal, and the public was shocked by finding out how they are treated. Supposedly, the work is in line with slavery. Human rights are violated on a daily basis whereby workers work long hours for very low wages, and Qatar seems not to care about the position of the workers. Workers live in bad conditions, which look more than disturbing.
Even if Qatar’s bidding application says to host the event at its usual schedule in June and July, after they have been appointed, FIFA intervened saying it is too hot in Qatar in summer and thereby risky, they moved the event to winter season. It is supposed to start in November and end right before Christmas holidays on 18 December 2017. It is not that easy though, many countries, particularly Australia complained that it intervenes with their national and domestic sports schedules. Australia even threatened to require compensation from FIFA in case it suffers financial loss due to not being able to hold domestic sports events because of the FIFA Cup. It is only a matter of time when other countries make similar requests. FIFA could lose millions of dollars in that case. For example, the Super Bowl and NBA always take place during November/December, and now the whole schedule is compromised.
The sports schedule is very strict and all events are carefully planned as to give space to each event, like the Summer and Winter Olympics, the European Football League, etc. It never happened before that someone messes with the sports schedule to such an extent.
Qatar and the Islamic Law
Qatar is a Muslim country, and as nice it sounds that the world is finally ready to host a mass event in a Muslim country and shows tolerance, it will not be that fun for football fans from the West. The Qatar laws strictly prohibit alcohol consumption and homosexualism, which will make the already difficult situation even more difficult. The thirsty spectators will not even be able to enjoy a beer during matches, and homosexuals will be probably expected not to enjoy with their partner but to keep a decent distance.
Many people are also skeptic about the Middle East which could account for fewer visitors in general. There are too many changes and rearrangements that have to be made that the world is not yet ready to accept. Nevertheless, Qatar seems to be very ambitious when it tries to rebuild the whole country in only 12 years.