The host of the 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup, Qatar, has to solve its human rights issues which so far had a tragic effect on the lives of migrants who work hard to build the infrastructure that will allow the country to organize the tournament at the highest level. If they don't solve these issues, they should let another country host the competition.
Although there is still a long time till 2022, the host of soccer’s mot exciting tournament, FIFA World Cup, has already been chosen. In 2011 FIFA officials voted to give this honor to Qatar. It was a decision which shocked a lot of people, and pretty soon allegations of bribery and corruption emerged, but the governing body of world soccer remained undeterred in its decision to have the competition organized by the small Arab state.
There are undoubtedly arguments which support FIFA’s decision and which sound quite logical to me. First of all, just like South-East Asia in 2002 or South Africa in 2010, this tournament will mark a premiere: the first ever World Cup organized by an Arab country, and I think the Arabs deserve to host this tournament just like any other race. This fabulous worldwide event belongs to everyone as soccer is now spread in every corner of the world.
Secondly, there is the climate issue which can be easily solved by moving the 2022 World Cup in the months of December or January when the temperatures are good for playing soccer matches. European clubs certainly are against this idea since the World Cup would interrupt their season, so the calendar for that year would be drastically changed, but we’re talking about a worldwide event in which all the participants have equal rights, therefore the Europeans should obey the decision of the majority and accept the idea of a winter World Cup, if that thing happens.
However, there is also a much darker side connected to the organization of this huge sporting event which has been revealed by several reports and investigations made in Qatar.
Unfortunately, it is estimated that more than 900 foreign workers have died in Qatar since 2012 while working on the infrastructure for the future World Cup. It seems that the absence of labor laws led to this incredible consequence of human rights violations.
Many of these migrant workers are treated like slaves of even worse: they have to work in scorching heat, denied of water, and in many cases they must sleep crammed into small spaces, deprived of a minimum comfort. The fact that many of those unfortunate people died of sudden heart attacks or workplace accidents are more than shocking. How could this happen in a rich country in the 21st century?
Obviously, Qatar is now under pressure from the international community to change its labor laws and make sure that the foreign workers who try to earn a living by working at the different elements of infrastructure necessary to host the World Cup are protected from being exploited by their greedy and heartless employers. If things don’t change for the better during the following months, FIFA must withdraw Qatar the organization of the world’s greatest soccer event. There’s still plenty of time to find another host.
The FIFA World Cup should be a celebration of the passion for the beautiful game and of life in general. It shouldn’t represent a reason of mourning the deaths of those who sacrificed themselves to make it possible. Let’s hope that the authorities of Qatar will take the necessary measures to prevent terrible things like workplace accidents and sudden deaths from happening at such a large scale. Soccer may be a fabulous game, but it certainly isn’t worth dying for!
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