We need to talk about the World Cup

Luke Roar Pro

By Luke, Luke is a Roar Pro


31 Have your say

    There is something about the World Cup that is bothering me, and I feel as if it is of crucial importance to write about it and share it with all of you. No this is not about VAR.

    I am talking about the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

    This is not some bitter Australian ranting about how we were robbed in the bidding process. Never mind the soaring temperatures in the summer or the disruption to the other football leagues in the world by having it held in the Summer.

    No this is a matter that goes beyond football.

    This is a matter to do with the treatment of migrant workers in the 21st century. According to a report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), it is estimated that 1200 migrant workers have died to construct the facilities for the World Cup.

    1200 people who voluntarily left their home countries, on the promise of sending money over to their families, many of whom are under the poverty line. And now they will never get to see them again.

    When Sepp Blatter awarded this tiny country the hosting rights, they made promises to reform their controversial migrant worker systems. However, eight years after this happened the Kalfahla system is still in place in Qatar.

    What this system means, is that migrant workers have in-country ‘sponsors’ that oversee their visas and their legal rights. When these workers leave for Qatar (paying a loan to do so), they have their passports confiscated, are forced to work long hours in the heat (often for little wages) and subjected to deplorable accommodations.

    If this sounds like modern-day slavery, this is because it is. A recent documentary by ESPN exposed some of the stories that the workers have had. One detailed how he cannot leave the country (as his employer would not give consent for it), how he had seen at least three people die within a week and how he had not received a break from work since he got there.

    Human rights abuse is rampant in Qatar. Homosexuality is still a crime in the country and can be punishable by death. Such an absurd law is made even more infuriating when something such as domestic violence is completely legal within Qatar, and there is no freedom of speech.

    Brazil Stadium Collapse

    Safety concerns were rampant before the 2014 World Cup and have raised their head again in relation to Qatar. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

    I can understand the appeal of a World Cup in the Middle East, but only if it is done properly. A country such as Qatar shows a complete lack of respect for human life everywhere.

    It is estimated in the ITUC report that nearly 4000 people will die before the completion of the stadiums, most likely to be more. I question how many deaths is it going to take before FIFA and their sponsors will actually take action.

    It is worrying, that an organisation such as FIFA can accumulate billions in revenue while ignoring the blatant human rights abuses going on in Qatar.

    No. FIFA will not act unless it directly affects their profitability. When this happens, they will spring to action. We know this because this has already happened.

    FIFA’s response to an Amnesty International report condemning the practices of Qatar claimed that it was not their responsibility to be involved in the political affairs of host countries. The hypocrisy of this statement cannot be underestimated.

    In 2014 FIFA successfully lobbied the Brazilian government to overturn a ban on the sale of alcohol at stadiums. They did this quite simply because one of their major sponsors was Budweiser.

    In 2010 FIFA created their own magistrate’s courts (dubbed the FIFA Courts) to dispel South Africa’s reputation as a ‘crime country’ and encourage more tourists to attend the World Cup.

    We should all be boycotting the World Cup in 2022. This is a country that continually exploits human life and the fact that it has shown no improvements in the past eight years to reform its outdated practices demonstrates how this is only going to continue.

    For anyone to support this World Cup is to support the choices of the Qatari government. This includes the supporting of state-sanctioned murder and slavery.

    We had hoped that the FIFA corruption scandal in 2015 would be the catalyst to remove the tournament but this is not going to be the case.

    We can all act on social media, but unless something drastic occurs that affects the reputations and brands of FIFA’s sponsors, then nothing will change. We need to make it clear to the many sponsors of FIFA, that by continuing to support FIFA they are supporting the continued abuse of human rights in Qatar.

    FIFA needs to strip the rights from Qatar. Not because of footballing reasons, but because of human reasons, but this will never happen. As we become more socially aware in the world, I remain somewhat hopeful that such an event like the Qatari World Cup will never happen again.

    I will give credit to Gianni Infantino for reforming the voting procedures for the World Cup, but if FIFA wants to send a message to the rest of the globe and change their reputation in the wake of the corruption scandal, then removing the World Cup from Qatar would be the best way to do it.

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    The Crowd Says (31)

    • July 14th 2018 @ 3:48am
      Ad-O said | July 14th 2018 @ 3:48am | ! Report

      I think this problem is inevitable in soccer. There are over 200 national associations that comprise FIFA, more countries than the UN. Of these, about 30 are in countries we would describe as liberal democracies. The rest are run by a rogues gallery in countries with endemic corruption, graft and poverty. When we look at what goes on at FIFA, we are looking at the day to day reality for the unlucky majority of the world.

    • July 14th 2018 @ 5:53am
      Matt Mouse said | July 14th 2018 @ 5:53am | ! Report

      Qatar doesn’t have to answer to you or your liberal western values.

      • July 15th 2018 @ 8:20am
        Max danger said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:20am | ! Report

        Yeah slavery and thousands dying isn’t important
        Qatar doesn’t have to listen but FIFA may

    • July 14th 2018 @ 8:22am
      Garry said | July 14th 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      I’m in Latvia and I’m just happy to be involved.

    • July 14th 2018 @ 8:44am
      MQ said | July 14th 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      Over recent decades, Westerners have been only too happy to turn a blind eye to the very worst dehumanising excesses, so as they can enjoy a few shiny trinkets on the cheap.

    • July 14th 2018 @ 10:16am
      Nemesis said | July 14th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

      Utter hypocritical, self-serving rubbish.

      The PC/laptop/tablet you currently use to post this tripe article was built by exploiting workers – including child labour – who work in the mines in Africa, who work in the assembly lines in China, who work in the recycling plants in Malaysia.

      The clothes you wear are sewn by workers exploited in India, Bangladesh.

      Get over yourselves.

      In relation to the exploitation of workers in the construction industry in the Gulf, that has been happening for the past 1/2 century and no one has said a thing.

      Dubai Airport. All the glitzy hotels in Dubai, the highways, the shopping malls. Every piece of construction in the Gulf is done by exploiting the poorest workers, who live in dehumanising conditions.

      And finally, to really expose your hypocrisy. Whilst the Governments in the Gulf Region are to blame for not having laws to protect workers, the organisations who are employing the workers & directly dehumanising them & explotitng them at the biggest engineering companies from: USA, France, Germany, UK, Australia.

      Yes, Australia. Our Aussie mining companies exploit workers & destroy lives in the poorest regions overseas.

      So get off your high horse.

      I can’t wait to watch football in Qatar. I can’t wait for the Qataris to give the middle finger FU to the rest of the world, just like the Russians did this year.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 11:00am
        Redondo said | July 14th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

        Sadly, what Nemesis says is pretty much the truth. Our comfortable Western lives depend on amoral government and corporate behaviour that is exponentially worse than anything Qatar could rustle up.

        There are so many wrongs to right why focus outrage on a small foreign country when there are plenty of valid domestic targets?

        • July 14th 2018 @ 11:13am
          chris said | July 14th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

          Because people like Luke are comfortable in laying into easy targets. Here is a stadium, here are dead workers and there is FIFA watching on.
          When the Apples and Amazons exploit the same workers through a labyrinth of companies and sub contractors etc etc its not as easy (or convenient) to point the finger.
          And besides, I can do without a shiny new stadium in a country I don’t really want to visit. What I can’t do without is my iPhone and my fancy new laptop.
          And no Luke we don’t condone exploitation of migrant workers to build these stadiums but the hypocrisy of this article is staggering.

          • July 14th 2018 @ 12:34pm
            MarkfromCroydon said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

            Thank you to the 3 eloquent posters above who have replied to this hypocritical article in a way that my limited skill couldn’t.
            Fully agree with all of them.

            • July 15th 2018 @ 8:31am
              Max Danger said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:31am | ! Report

              thank you to the 4 football heads who will justify anything football related

          • July 15th 2018 @ 8:32am
            Max Danger said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:32am | ! Report

            please explain how amazon is worse than these slaves dying? i am ready

        • July 15th 2018 @ 8:32am
          Max Danger said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:32am | ! Report

          please explain how apple is worse than thousands of slaves dying for a few non permanent stadiums

          • July 15th 2018 @ 8:56am
            chris said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

            Max educate yourself and read about Apple and the chemicals it uses to produce its products in China.
            Read about the impacts on Chinese workers.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 12:32pm
        hans said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

        People in third world countries who make heaps of kids and overpopulate their lands are just as much responsible for their own poverty as the evil billionaires.

        • July 14th 2018 @ 1:14pm
          Redondo said | July 14th 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

          Hans – you need to pay more attention to the world. If reading is a struggle there’s plenty of stuff online that will educate you.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 5:33pm
        Sam said | July 14th 2018 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

        As you say- we are football – screw morals, justice and corruption. Yes FIFA is football.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 6:07pm
        Holly said | July 14th 2018 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

        I bet Qatar will be scratching it’s head during the event trying to work out why so many empty seats in the stands and so few tourists attended .just like so many empty seats in the stands at Russia 2018 .resepct for human life is more valued in the western world than it is in oil rich Qatar where greed and corruption rein supreme.

        • July 15th 2018 @ 12:30am
          Nemesis said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:30am | ! Report

          Stadiums in Russia were filled to capacity for most matches. 64 matches featuring 32 nations. This tournament has been a huge success.

          Average attendance 46.7k

          • July 15th 2018 @ 8:33am
            Max Danger said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

            yeah, qatar is not the same as Russia
            football forever

      • July 15th 2018 @ 1:54am
        Ad-O said | July 15th 2018 @ 1:54am | ! Report

        What a load of codswallop. The situation in Qatar is completely different to Apple manufacturing phones overseas.

        You, sitting in your comfortable western office, may feel like an Apple factory worker getting paid $1 an hour is exploitation. But for him, that is an opportunity to provide for his or her family that wouldn’t exist if Apple were forced to pay $10. That worker, along with billions of others in Asia, have decided they are better off doing that than breaking rocks on a farm and living in absolute poverty in a rural area.

        It’s those personal decisions that have seen a revolution in the living standards of people across the 3rd world over the last 40 years. Forcing Western standards upon them will just see their economy and their quality of life go backwards.

        • July 15th 2018 @ 8:34am
          Max Danger said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:34am | ! Report

          Ad-o , these guys throw all sense out of the window once their game is attacked

        • July 15th 2018 @ 9:01am
          chris said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

          adio maybe you’re right. Who wouldn’t want to work in one of Apples sub contracting companies where workers are basically walking zombies from lack of sleep and being poisoned from the carcinogenic fluids they use to make your iPhone. Beats breaking rocks on the farm!

      • July 15th 2018 @ 8:29am
        Max Danger said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

        Nemesis, your reply was Utter hypocritical, self-serving rubbish.
        you will ignore any facts if it means defending your precious sport
        the examples you give are poor. millions of workers have risen from poverty making western goods. not under great conditions but far far better than the slavery that happens in Qatar. you use Dubai as an example – yes it was built in the same way and people have complained about that too. but when the argument is centred around your precious game – you ignore it. comapring Australian mining companies and Qatar slavery is laughable but ive been reading your bias views for years

      • July 15th 2018 @ 5:52pm
        AGO74 said | July 15th 2018 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

        I actually don’t disagree with a lot of the things you note re the manufacturing of consumer goods etc as it is generally true. That said at least the workers in China, India etc generally (albeit not always in the worst cases) will get to go home to their families and more directly provide for their families. This is clearly not the case in Qatar where the workers passports are confiscated by their “host” and will not be able to return home for years as they are Held against their will in a state which sponsors this style of system. In other words the situation in Qatar (as well as Dubai which operates similar practices) is on a whole other level of brutality.

        You seemingly don’t dispute that the Qatari work practices to deliver this World Cup have lead to the deaths of hundreds and exploitation of thousands. This is a shocking state of affairs even in a world where workers are more likely to be exploited than not. Hence I find your closing statement that you “can’t wait” for the Qataris deliver an FU to the world frankly abhorrent.

        • July 15th 2018 @ 7:25pm
          mick said | July 15th 2018 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

          great response AGO it is a sad reality but for many this is an opportunity to break the cyclical cycle of farming or back breaking work their families are use to (re workers in china and india), Infact research was done in 2005 which suggests even child labour has a percieved positive in the sense that by working for a big name corporation such as the ones dicussed allows children to escape the unfortunate reality of child sex works or looking for scraps to sell on streets.

          It is a grim reality however when discussion poverty in countries where income inequality and human rights are not high on the agenda everything will be seen as grim.

          As for Qatar it is modern day slavery, an in house sponsor refusing to let you leave.

    • July 14th 2018 @ 10:58am
      Redondo said | July 14th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

      So much outrage. The US has the 2026 Cup – I expect you will follow up shortly with a similar article on that.