Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said that Qatar, where the World Cup is taking place, is a mistake. The drama has escalated since he got the rights under Blatter (who was banned from FIFA activities in 2015 for corruption).
Many issues have set off alarm bells around the world. On the one hand, Qatar was accused of paying bribes to officials to obtain the contract, but was later cleared.
More recently, the first Arab country to host FIFA has been accused of human rights abuses. Thousands of migrant workers have died while working to build gaming infrastructure in intolerant conditions and hot weather. Qatar has underestimated these deaths–The Guardianthe estimate was 6,500 in 2021. FIFA asked teams to focus on the game and not on political battles, a move that was criticized by teams and football associations around the world.
Fans and celebrities are also boycotting the event for other reasons. In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal and the LGBTQ+ community is brutally persecuted and harassed; punishments can be as severe as the death penalty. Qatar’s World Cup ambassador said homosexuality is “a damage in the spirit”, drawing criticism from activists and the community and heightening concerns about community safety.
Drinking laws are strict, and drinking in public can land revelers in jail, though organizers have designated areas for drinking before and after games. However, Qatar abruptly announced two days before the first game that alcoholic beverages would not be sold during games.
Women’s rights are also reduced in the conservative nation, where women face discrimination on a daily basis. They need men’s permission to travel abroad, enroll in their universities or find jobs, and there are laws that prohibit consensual sex outside of marriage, while survivors of sexual assault can also be punished.
One last thing in this slew: David Beckham has become the face of the tournament as an ambassador for culture and tourism. As expected, the soccer star received a massive backlashand outraged fans wanted him out of the tournament to save his reputation as an ally.