World Cup held in controversial country

Vincent Joliff, Staff Writer

The FIFA World Cup is an international sporting event that takes place every four years in varying countries. Many different nations and regions have hosted this event, but not the middle-east. That is, until this year’s World Cup. 

The nation of Qatar is hosting this year’s World Cup. It has reportedly cost them $220 billion, led to political and civil issues, and left many to question why Qatar was chosen in the first place. 

Qatar has systems in place that the western world simply do not accept. Qatar is known for being against LGBTQ rights, as well as women’s rights. They have combated these claims by saying they are simply a part of their culture. 

Something else that has also led to criticism is the way the country has developed. By using forced labor to build their huge buildings and stadiums, Qatar has angered most of the participating nations. 

In order to keep all fans and spectators safe, the Qatari government agreed to relax some of its rules and regulations. This includes the banning of alcoholic beverages and dress codes. According to ESPN, fans can purchase and digest alcohol at “Fan Zones” something the general public is not allowed to do. But just two days before the first match was set to kick off, it was announced that alcohol would not be distributed at stadiums. FIFA and Budweiser had a $75 million agreement for the World Cup and FIFA will now renegotiate a new deal with Budweiser. “The Sun” reports that Anheuser-Busch will seek $47 million from FIFA in compensation.

To house all of the fans who will arrive, Qatar built thousands of temporary apartments made from shipping containers. Fans have had mixed reviews of these accommodations. 

This World Cup has led to political turmoil as well. The United States and Iran were put in the same group, meaning they must play each other. Leading up to the match, politics were a new factor. In a graphic displayed by the US Men’s National Soccer Team social media, the Iranian flag was misrepresented; the Emblem of Iran was cut out, leaving just the colors. In an interview before the game, a reporter asked the U.S. captain about U.S. domestic problems and the mispronunciation of Iran. 

This World Cup, while entertaining, has not gone as smoothly as many had hoped. Many are to blame, FIFA themselves being chief among them. FIFA took Qatar’s bid knowing the issues they could encounter. They have a history of ignoring human rights and controversy just to cash a check. In 1934, a facist Italy hosted the tournament. In 2018, Russia, which has a history of human rights violations, hosted. Now there is Qatar, which had an estimated 400-500 workers die while building for the World Cup. Qatar spent $200 million for the rights to host the World Cup. This money could have easily been spent on safety for the laborers. 

The ambition of Qatar to host a World Cup and the mismanagement of FIFA has led to this being one of, if not the most, controversial World Cup in history. It has caused many problems for many different parties. The nation of Qatar, the Qatari government, the fans, Budweiser, FIFA, and many others.