Qatar 2022 Controversy
Casts Cloud Over World Cup Anniversary
Today marks the 86th anniversary of the first World Cup games at the 1930 World Cup in Montevideo, Uruguay. In two games played simultaneously, France beat Mexico 4–1 , while the United States defeated Belgium 3–0. France’s Lucien Laurent was the scorer of the first World Cup goal.
The United States would lose in the semifinals to Argentina, who in turn lost to host Uruguay 4-2 in the final. Uruguay became the first of six host countries to win the World Cup – with Italy (’34), England (’66), Germany (’74), Argentina (’78) and France (’98) following suit.
FIFA, the World Cup governing body, has been rocked by scandal and indictments over bribery in connection with the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to be held in Russia and Qatar. FIFA has refused to pull the ’22 contest from Qatar, which recently displayed the new stadiums being built for 2022.
This building, however, largely involves guest workers and, according to a recently Amnesty International report, their conditions remain deplorable.
In March 2016, Amnesty International accused Qatar of using forced labor and forcing the employees to live in poor conditions and withholding their wages and passports. In a series of post entitled “World Cup of Shame,” it accused FIFA of failing to stop the stadium being built on “human right abuses”. Migrant workers told Amnesty about verbal abuse and threats they received after complaining about not being paid for up to several months. Nepali workers were even denied leave to visit their family after the 2015 Nepal earthquake.
It is estimated that over 4,000 guest workers will be killed preparing Qatar for the 2022 competition. The Amnesty report renewed calls for a boycott or revote.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, however, has said last month that the organisation will establish a body to monitor working conditions for labourers at Qatar’s World Cup stadiums and insisted the tournament would stay in the Gulf.