Five nations put their bids forward in 2009, hoping to earn the privilege of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Australia, Japan, United States, South Korea and Qatar all entered the bid, but there was a clear outright winner.
The combined population of the five nations is 532.67 million, with the winners of the bid, Qatar, contributing just 2.6 million to the total.
To put it into perspective, you could fit Qatar in to the United States approximately 849 times, so the concerns for accommodating a tournament of this size is completely warranted.
If it wasn’t already a big enough issue, Qatar will now potentially have to play home to an extra 16 teams, as FIFA are keen to expand the number of teams at the tournament from 32 to 48.
In regards to the practicalities of this, Qatar currently have just one stadium ready for use at the World Cup and with time running out, it is looking a near impossible task to get it ready in time for November 2022.
One of the most talked about controversies surrounding Qatar’s World Cup bid is the treatment of workers hired to build the infrastructure for the tournament.
Human Rights Watch and International Trade Union Confederation allege that the Kafala System, a system used to monitor migrant labours, leaves migrant workers vulnerable to systematic abuse.
Workers are not allowed to leave the country without their sponsors permission, and Amnesty International reported a ‘serious exploitation’ including workers having to sign false statements that they had received their wages in order to regain passports.
This borderline slave labour is a prime example of the corruption and exploitation of the hosting of the tournament, but the extent of this is highlighted when looking at the fatalities involved.
The exact extent of the number of deaths of workers involved in the construction for the World Cup is unclear, but Hans-Christian Gabrielsen, Leader of Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, has provided an incredibly dark insight.
“If we were to hold a minute of silence for every estimated death of a migrant worker due to the constructions of the Qatar World Cup, the first 44 matches of the tournament would be played in silence,” he said.
This shocking tally of deaths is enough to tell you that Qatar should have never won the bid, especially when considering all the other nations could comfortably accommodate even a 48 team tournament.
Another key issue in their bid regards the fans. Accommodating a huge influx of fans will be very difficult, with plans for fans to stay in cruise ships and tents in the desert to meet accommodation demands.
Not only will they struggle to find a secure roof to put over their heads, entertainment will take a big hit due to the new 100% alcohol tax, meaning a crate of 24 beers will now cost £82.
The whole preparation and practicalities of the tournament are farcical, and in my opinion, they should’ve had their right to host the tournament taken away when their cruel treatment of their workers was revealed.