In 10 days a World Cup shrouded in controversy begins

The biggest, and some would say the best, sporting event in the world kicks off in 10 days. The Men’s World Cup is a beloved spectacle around the world, but the 2022 version of the tournament is surrounded by a lot of controversy. While it’s appropriate to be excited about the soccer tournament, this controversy still needs to be remembered as we get closer to kickoff.

Kylian Mbappe, 19, holds up the World Cup trophy after France won their second World Cup. Mandatory Credit: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports

The most watched show in the world with dark background

The men’s World Cup is usually a cause for jubilation, but the 2022 version has a dark background that casts a shadow over the games. This tournament is played in November and December. It completely uproots the global club football calendar, and this is because it is too hot to play a tournament in Qatar in the summer months, so FIFA moved the games around to suit the host country.

So this tournament is at the wrong time of year, causing chaos in world football. Add to this bribery, human rights abuses and homophobia, and you get a complete picture of what Qatar 2022 is all about.

Bribery to get the 2022 World Cup

If you’ve never seen how FIFA awards a World Cup to a nation, it’s essentially like an election. Nations that want to host get nominations and then vote to be awarded a tournament. Qatar was remarkably loose with how they managed to land the 2022 Men’s World Cup.

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The host country lined pockets of confederations that were able to help them get the nomination and then the votes. He even bribed senior members of FIFA. Then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter was also bribed, recently confessing that choosing Qatar was a “mistake” and a “bad choice.”

While this is the wrong way to get a nation to host the world’s biggest tournament, it’s not the worst thing about Qatar and the 2022 Men’s World Cup.

Rampant homophobia and lack of freedom

In Qatar, being in a same-sex relationship is illegal. There is rampant homophobia in Qatar and its citizens and visitors are monitored and censored. This could pose some very significant issues for teams and fans traveling to the World Cup.

Intolerance of sexual orientation and censorship of people intrudes on their freedoms. It makes it very difficult when people from nations that are not so intolerant come to the nation. Qatar has made it known that those who come to their country will have their electronic devices tracked. Qatar’s homophobic tendencies make it very difficult for LGBTQIA fans to enjoy the tournament. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has warned “gay fans” to respect the host nation…

It’s getting hectic for both the fans and the teams coming to Qatar for this tournament. Some teams are planning on-court statements through banners and uniforms worn at games. This is to protest Qatar’s policies as a nation and what many call gross human rights abuses to host the World Cup.

Human rights abuses to create places

Qatar is a very small island nation in the Middle East. The nation had amassed a huge fortune due to the wealth of oil money they had, and after bribing to become the first Middle Eastern nation to host the men’s World Cup, they needed to build venues that could accommodate the world.

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To build state-of-the-art stadiums, team facilities, spectator accommodation and metro-style public transport lines, Qatar used labor from the poorest countries. People were attracted by the promise of money they couldn’t get in their own countries; many did it to support their families and get out of poverty. The problem was that these workers were not treated as people.

In recent years, news has emerged that describes the construction of the men’s World Cup in Qatar as an abuse of human rights. The workers were treated like slaves. Their passports were taken away, their salaries withheld, and their homes filled with people and had almost no running water. Many workers died from the harsh working conditions, and sadly, too many committed suicide to escape slavery-like status.

This was all in the name of meeting the deadline for this misplaced winter World Cup. The first match is only 10 days away, and even with all this controversy, the tournament will still be played.

Still, there is a World Cup which will take place

The men’s World Cup will still be played. FIFA is used to playing this tournament in controversial settings; the last version of this tournament was played in Russia in 2018. Players and coaches will still have a chance to achieve national glory in the biggest and best tournament in the world.

While the bad things off the pitch will be overshadowed by the games and the players on the pitch, we will not ignore the atrocities that brought and built the Men’s World Cup in Qatar. In just 10 days, the world will have its eyes on Qatar. Don’t ignore how this nation came to host the tournament, how they treat people in their nation, and how they built state-of-the-art stadiums and facilities.

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We at Philly Sports Network will be covering the nations and matches in depth, but it just didn’t feel right to jump into that coverage without shedding light on the major issues surrounding this tournament. All of these problems are because a corrupt cooperation allowed a controversial nation to host the biggest tournament in gaming.

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Mandatory Credit: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports