World Cup forces social changes in Qatar

November 22, 2022 0 By Cypher9ja

Fifa president Gianni Infantino reckons that Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 will be the best edition yet of the classic sporting competition. One of his main reasons is that, this time around, players will be at full strength because they won’t have to play a full season before heading into the tournament.

Infantino brushed aside criticism of Qatar and its record on human rights by saying it showed that the critics – and especially those in Europe, with their own human rights violation skeletons – are hypocrites. Qatar 2022 will, without doubt, be one of the most controversial World Cups in history.

The country has been accused of abusing foreign workers who built the fantastic tournament infrastructure. Apart from appalling working conditions, many of these foreigners died on building projects. In addition, being a conservative Muslim country, Qatar has strict laws on everything from homosexuality to alcohol.

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How, many are asking, did Qatar win the right to host the World Cup, if its problems were well-known?

When it comes to all things Fifa, money talks and the oil-rich country had enough to be very persuasive. The cost of the spectacle is going to be around $200 billion (about R3.4 trillion) – the most in history – as the Qataris seek to buy global recognition and acceptance.

Talk of boycotts and protests will remain just that, because once the tournament builds up steam, what happens on the pitch will be what consumes most people. Still, the mere fact of global attention has already seen Qatar make some significant social changes, including the way foreign workers are treated.

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And, while the aim of a World Cup is to spread the gospel of football, it still has some way to go in Qatar, judging by the fact that many Qataris left the opening match on Sunday night when their country was playing Ecuador.