Qatar, Fifa, World Cup discussed on Monocle 24: The Foreign Desk
This Sunday, the 2022 World Cup will kick off in albite stadium on the outskirts of alcor city in Qatar. The first match we'll see Qatar, the hosts, take on Ecuador. Qatar versus Ecuador is not to understate matters audaciously a fixture possessed of mythical luster. We are a long way here from Germany versus the Netherlands or England versus Argentina, or really anybody versus anybody. Qatar will be playing at their first World Cup. Ecuador are playing at their fourth, but at only one of their previous three have they struggled out of the group stages. In 2006, when they were beaten in the round of 16 by England, a David Beckham free kick thwarting whatever dreams Ecuador may have dared nurture. David Beckham. Do we know? To organize the two 22 FIFA World Cup is Qatar. Qatar was named as the 2022 World Cup host in 2010 in the same announcement that granted the 2018 tournament to Russia, almost as if FIFA were hoping to get to choruses of incredulous jeering out of the way at once. So the world has had 12 years to get used to the idea of a World Cup in Qatar, a country half the size of Wales, which had when it was awarded the tournament roughly the population of Minsk. Plus a climate brutally inhospitable to outdoor exertion, a human rights record difficult to contemplate without an amount of wincing and zero footballing tradition to speak of. Qatar has at least since made some progress in the latter department the high point winning the 2019 Asian cup, beating Japan in the final, credit where due and so forth. As for the others, well, we'll get to those presently. What we first need to consider is what FIFA was thinking. And it was the right decision. You think for FIFA to take the tournament to Qatar, not for everybody, but for me, I vote for Qatar because I think it was nice to go in another part of the world with people whenever receive their World Cup. At the time, FIFA explained the award of the World Cup to Qatar with an amount of breezy flannel about it being high time the Middle East had a go at staging the global games paramount event, pitching it as a sort of overdue sequel to South Africa hosting in 2010, which had been the first World Cup held in that region. A few Flint hearted skeptics did suggest, however, that FIFA's decision may have been tilted by less lofty motivations. FIFA corrupt and venal the very idea, et cetera FIFA did commission an inquiry into such aspersions, which cleared Qatar of any nefarious Ness. Who cooperated with the FIFA inquiry? The English? Yes. No one except the English and the Australians and definitely not the Russians and all the qataris. But which amusingly did take a swipe at England's Football Association for overstepping the mark in its efforts to win the favor of a particular FIFA official for England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup. Though Qatar certainly spent lavishly on its bid, it was not found to have directly bought votes. There was a thing with Qatari football administrator and FIFA executive committee member Muhammad bin hammam seeking to purchase support for his attempt to become FIFA president, but this was deemed unrelated to the World Cup bid and bin haman was banned from football for life. Have you ever tried to buy votes and attended to do so all my life? Did you ever give any money to those officials in the Caribbean or the novel? Nobody can claim that. And they have been various things with the 22 FIFA executives who awarded Qatar the World Cup. 17 of them have since been on the receiving end of bans indictments investigations or accusations. FIFA's then president Sepp Blatter is currently banned from football. I'm sorry that time as president of FIFA, this punching ball and I'm sorry for football. I'm sorry. But I'm also sorry about me. How I am treated in this world. FIFA's then vice president Jack Warner is fighting extradition from Trinidad and Tobago to the United States. It did not work out to my family's detriment. And I'm seeing very, very, very far from black. You couldn't look up the others yourself. Even if, however, Qatar behaved entirely scrupulously in acquiring the World Cup, honestly, your honor, we had no idea of the wretched cast of pirates and rogues we were dealing with. There are several other reasons why it remains ridiculous that Qatar is hosting it. There is the treatment of the workers who built the fabulous stadiums in which this World Cup will be played. The figure of 6500 deaths of migrant workers which is frequently bandied is debatable. That is the total from hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from 5 countries who died in Qatar between 2010 and 2021, where the working on the World Cup or not, whether from work related mishap or not. Qatar claims that 37 people have died on World Cup construction sites and only three of those from work related accidents. The international labor organization claims 50 deaths in 2021 alone and nearly 40,000 injuries. By way of contrast, working on the 2012 London Olympics cost nobody their life. It is indisputably the case that many, if not most of this World Cup's workers have been remunerated and accommodated miserably. Suzanne would often complain about the conditions in Qatar, the heat, the grueling work that he wasn't receiving the agreed wage, but he often had to wait months to be paid. If Qatar can afford to spend north of $200 billion hosting the World Cup, it can afford to pay people better than 50 bucks a week. And then there's the fact that any gay football fan inclined to attend will at the very least have had to think about the wisdom of doing so. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and Qatari police have form for hassling and detaining and abusing gay people. I am not one big whistling, but because the damage in the mind. That right there should disqualify any putative host of any allegedly inclusive global event. Qatar has endured considerable criticism for all of the above and will endure more, and rightly so, which prompts the question of why Qatar bid for the World Cup in the first place. The answers are all the obvious ones, prestige, influence, recognition, and maybe who knows, even an amount of pure hearted inclination to hospitality. At the very real risk of echoing an observation made in this space about Russia's hosting of the 2018 World Cup, and even more obviously absurd and monstrous decision by FIFA, the hazard of inviting the whole world to pay attention to you is that the whole world pays attention to you. For monocle 24, I'm Andrew mullet.