Power and Money Cloud Judgement

As some of you may know, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held in Qatar which is a small country off the coast of Saudi Arabia. When Qatar won the bid to host the World Cup, the public eye looked at it as an expansion for the sport of soccer. Moving the world’s largest stage for the sport to a country that is growing in population while reaching out to an area untouched by events of this magnitude.  Traditionally, the World Cup is held in the months of June and July, which also happens to be the hottest months in Qatar. The decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup is still looked upon as controversial due to the conditions that players, fans, and officials will have to bear which could potentially be very unsafe.

Playing in extreme heat is very dangerous, but an issue I believe even greater than this is migrant labour abuse. Recent reports and articles have spoken of the issue of foreign labourers in Qatar which is also being referred to as “modern day slavery.” The Guardian, an English newspaper has posted reports of severe abuse of migrant workers mainly from Nepal. It also stated but has to yet to confirm that the vast majority of these workers are being used to build the stadiums required to host the World Cup in 2022. Workers were stripped of their identification and passports preventing them from being able to leave, had their pay withheld, and were rarely given sufficient food and water. To put into perspective how poorly they were treated, workers were dying at a rate of one person per day during the summer of 2013. How could FIFA, an organization that uses the sport of soccer as a way to bring the world together and perform greater good in less fortunate countries allow for its main event to be hosted in a country that is using “slaves” to build their stadiums?

Here is an excerpt from the FIFA mission statement: “The world is a place rich in natural beauty and cultural diversity, but also one where many are still deprived of their basic rights. FIFA now has an even greater responsibility to reach out and touch the world, using football as a symbol of hope and integration.”  

The last time I checked, freedom was a basic right and depriving that of the migrant workers in Qatar, who are making the World Cup possible by building the stadiums is contradictory to their own mission statement.  I believe that their current policies should either be reviewed to prevent countries who commit crimes against humanity from hosting such prestigious events. Along with Qatar also brings the question of Russia hosting in 2018, should they be reconsidered as hosts due to their new anti-gay laws? Why do the general public not know about the ongoing issues in Qatar more than just a few brief articles? The World Cup is arguably the most watched sporting event in the world and to have a country who uses people as slaves as a host definitely will rub majority of viewers the wrong way, including myself.

– Jonathan Pecchia

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Sources:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-world-cup-socker-in-qatar-2022-controversy-over-the-appalling-migrant-worker-conditions/5353020

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/04/fifa-qatar-weather-slaves-sepp-blatter

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/soccer/news/20131008/fifa-ethics-investigation-russia-qatar-world-cup.ap/

http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/organisation/mission.html

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4 Responses to Power and Money Cloud Judgement

  1. cm10hu says:

    Great blog choice and I can’t disagree with your points, FIFA has some very tough decisions to make. They have gotten themselves into a tricky situation and obviously cannot support worker mistreatment (or player safety due to temperatures). As they seem to be refusing to back out of Qatar, they’re only other options are all controversial. Moving the tournament to the winter is being refused by many including European leagues who claim it will create too many issues for them. As well winter sports and broadcasters state it will hurt their viewership and revenues if it proceeds during the winter.

    http://mg.co.za/article/2013-10-04-blatter-defensive-over-qatar-slavery-claims/

    Marked – SE

  2. mmorello11 says:

    Great blog post! I completely agree with you that FIFA needs to review their policies, I was unaware of the slavery issue– I knew there was controversy around possibly changing when the tournament would be held (winter vs. summer) but I never heard about the slavery which is ridiculous! You are correct in saying that FIFA is all about unity and bringing people of different cultures together and basic freedoms, yet something like this is going on.
    This issue needs to be brought to the forefront much more than it has been– and fast!

    Marked – SE

  3. mb11oo says:

    The decision to award the World Cup to Qatar in the first place was rooted in politics and money, rather than on more objective grounds. I find it very hard to believe that an organization such as FIFA was unaware of the migrant worker issues in Qatar. Also, FIFA should have brought the issue to the forefront during the bidding process, perhaps using the bid as an incentive for Qatar to review its policy on foreign workers. However, such actions would seem to open up a Pandora’s box of issues with potential hosts, and turn FIFA too political (something it may already be). It is always going to be difficult to separate sport and politics for sport governing bodies. Also, we are kidding ourselves if we don’t acknowledge that money is the driving force in most Olympic and World Cup bids, and that it trumps all other considerations. Another consideration is where do you draw the line as far as making political issues part of bid decisions? It would be difficult to find a single nation without at least some human rights issues. What may be needed is for more transparency during the bidding process.

  4. rm09gu says:

    Great blog, I agree with everything you said and having lived in the Middle East I have some first hand experience of the terrible conditions that laborers are subjected too. Having spent time in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, I witnessed ‘slavery’ on an everyday basis, you saw, should you choose to look, the terrible conditions laborers lived in, the extreme heats they were forced to work in and the unfair treatment they received. The FIFA World Cup, like you said is one of the worlds most viewed and prestigious events. Using slave labor to build their facilities is against everything they stand for. FIFA as a world wide organization have the ability to reach out and eliminate or at least shed light on global issues. In my opinion, this is what FIFA should be doing, they are obviously aware of the working conditions in Qatar and should take a proactive stance to rectify them, if this is not done, not only will FIFA as an organization suffer but their reputation and image of a humanitarian organization will diminish.

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