Qatar 2022: Despite controversies, the World Cup forges ahead
Accusations of forced labor and slavery during the construction of stadiums, as well as allegations that link former CIA agents with organizers, surround the global sporting event.
When FIFA decided to grant a World Cup to Qatar, no one was surprised by all the suspicions of corruption that surrounded the selection. It has not been officially proven so far, and nothing seems able at this point to prevent the playing of the first event of its kind in the Middle East.
In 2018, The Sunday Times claimed to have seen leaked documents that proved the Qatari committee hired former CIA agents and a U.S. public relations company to discredit the other nominees to host the World Cup — important countries such as Australia, South Korea, the United States and Japan.
Through a statement, FIFA indicated that "a thorough investigation was conducted by Michael García, a U.S. prosecutor, and its conclusions are available," referring to an investigation that was carried out before the revelations of the British publication .
One year before the start of one of the most important sporting events in the world, the information about the teams that have qualified and everything related to the sporting part has taken a back seat. The criticism of fans, activists and organizations, such as Amnesty International, have not stopped and continue to point out the serious irregularities that continue to surround the organization of the upcoming World Cup.
Different sectors have been denouncing the absence of rights for workers from countries such as India, Nepal and Bangladesh, who, in addition to having to submit to inhumane conditions while working, are also forced to live in squalor in camps with unsanitary conditions.
For his part, the managing director of the World Cup, Nasser al-Khater, noted that Qatar has made labor law reforms for several years, underlining an "unprecedented speed."
According to the human rights organization Amnesty International, it has been learned that thousands of workers have died due to extreme heat and work conditions in the construction of the stages for the World Cup, which has been hidden by the government by not performing the corresponding autopsies.
The latest episode occurred on Nov. 23 when Qatari security forces detained two Norwegian journalists for 30 hours and deleted videos they recorded at a migrant worker camp. The reporters, who were accused of "entering private property and filming without permission," were released and traveled back to Norway, where their prime minister described series of events as unacceptable.
In March of this year, players from the national teams of Germany, Norway and the Netherlands wore jerseys demanding respect for human rights in Qatar, something that has not been endorsed by governments and football federations, who prefer to focus attention on sports and put aside any statement that could be controversial and put the World Cup at risk.