The whole world pays attention to soccer every four years when the stage is set for the World Cup. Undoubtedly the most coveted trophy in all of soccer, the World Cup is a time of celebration and unity for all who support their nation. Next year’s installment, however, is shrouded with corruption and brutality.
The corruption it took to gain Qatar the chance to host the World Cup occurred because Qatar was nowhere near prepared to host the largest tournament in the world. They have the smallest population of any host nation ever, as well as the lowest international ranking. They needed to build massive new stadiums to prepare for the influx of people coming to watch the tournament, and they did so through migrant workers. Qatar uses the Kufala system to monitor migrant workers, meaning that every migrant worker is placed under the care of a sponsor. These sponsors, however, are almost always corrupt and abusive. They have control of the migrant worker’s passport and often refuse to return a passport until the worker signs false statements indicating that their wages were received. Multiple human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and International Trade Union Confederation, have been critical of not only the Kufala system but the Qatari government itself, alleging that they are not committed whatsoever to the preservation of human rights in their country. These organizations call the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar “modern-day slavery” and call for the immediate changing of the Qatari system. Working in Qatar has clearly been extremely dangerous, a 2020 article from The Guardian reporting that at least 6,500 workers have died in Qatar as a result of the working conditions. Qatar releases botched statistics of causes of death, reporting many deaths as “deaths from natural causes'' when they could be prevented simply by providing better working conditions. A man named Madhu Bollapally lived and worked in Qatar for 6 years before inexplicably collapsing and dying. His family reported that he had zero health problems before leaving for Qatar. Qatar reported his death as a heart failure to indicate that it was a natural event and had nothing to do with the horrid surroundings and climate.
Another issue with the Qatar World Cup is that the temperature in the summer can reach close to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, the tournament was moved to the Winter for the first time in history. This decision was made after Qatar had already won the vote and would certainly have swayed many people away from voting for Qatar. All domestic leagues would need to be stopped, as well as continental competitions in Europe, causing more distress and less money flowing in at the normal time to clubs.
The FIFA monopoly has reached a boiling point. The actions taken by the fans in the next few years will be decisive for the future of the game. The corruption of FIFA will remain as long as fans and clubs allow it to.