Too Hot for Qatar

Tyler Sloan, Editor in Chief

The 2022 FIFA World Cup, scheduled to take place in Qatar, has been doomed from the start, and the organization put the final nail in the coffin by likely rescheduling the final match to take place the night before Christmas Eve. With the traditional timing of the World Cup altered due to exceedingly hot temperatures in Qatar, the club season will be interrupted without compensation for many players.

Beyond frustrating a number of organizations with its scheduling choice, including the Barclays Premier League in Europe, FIFA has also mostly turned a blind eye to the impending human rights crisis for migrant workers. Even if employees are not subjected to the unworkable summer weather, there is large-scale global concern regarding the conditions for migrant workers in Qatar.

Recent reports published by whistle-blowers like Human Rights Watch have shown that only 10 percent of the population is comprised of Qatari nationals. Despite laws put in place to prevent the abuse of migrant workers, there is still widespread maltreatment. Employers often confiscate workers’ passports and withhold wages for extended periods of time, in addition to prohibiting employees to change jobs without permission.

The same report from Human Rights Watch also details that employees can have workers’ documentation redacted by reporting that they have absconded. Without the proper documentation, employees risk deportation, arrest and even detention. Cases of employee abuse or human trafficking are rarely presented in Qatar’s courts despite the existence of such dangerous practices.

With a new stadium, airport and multiple other construction projects underway in anticipation for the World Cup, human rights violations seem inevitable in Qatar. Even aside from this crisis, FIFA’s decision is shortsighted and faulty at best.

FIFA will be pulling the best players from club leagues around the world during the World Cup without compensation. Not that the soccer world’s elite need much financial fluffing from FIFA, but this decision seems reflective of the organization’s dismissive attitude toward its critics. FIFA continually refuses to take responsibility for its careless decision to give the bid to Qatar.

For as long as the World Cup has existed, the event has taken place over the summer. FIFA’s decision to shrug off Qatar’s climate, which typically averages 105º F in July, was its first fatal move. There was never going to be a feasible way to host the tournament over June and July, despite promises of high-end cooling technology.

On a personal note, a pivotal part of occasions like the World Cup, or even the Olympics, is the tradition that comes with it. With many places experiencing cold weather during November and December, outdoor screenings will most likely be eliminated for viewing parties in the United States. Even further, most employees usually distribute vacations over late December and in the summer months. With the untraditional timing of the events, the Cup will likely draw a smaller viewing crowd from the United States.

Overall, the lack of responsibility that FIFA is taking in its decision to perpetuate a human rights crisis and disrupt club seasons is troubling at best. We can only hope that some of these major issues are ironed out before the tournament and that workers’ rights take priority in future planning.