The country of Qatar not only lacks infrastructure, soccer tradition and budget, but a strong foundation of human rights. FIFA’s choice to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar violates essential human rights, is based on bribery and it’s expected to abuse migrant workers.
Historically, homosexuality has always been illegal in Qatar. Even though the United States likes to be a moral crusader in the fight for human rights and equality, Qatar remains behind where sexuality is concerned. In 2015, the first and largest study on homophobia in sports was conducted by the Bingham Cup Sydney 2014, the world cup of gay rugby, and members of Sydney Convicts, Australia’s gay rugby union club. This study revealed that homophobia is 62% more common in team sports than any other part of society. Also, it revealed that only 1% of the participants in the study believed that gays, lesbians and bisexuals were openly and completely accepted in the sport culture.
In 2009, a study conducted by Lindsey Wilkinson and Jennifer Pearson, two American psychologists, revealed that higher rates of depression and lower self-esteem was common in high school soccer players who are attracted to the same sex. Hosting the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, reinforces the beliefs of heteronormavity in sports and reinforces the barriers against gay people in sports culture.
The only response that the LGBTQ community received was from the ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter who said, “Gay men who want to go to the World Cup should refrain from any sexual activities”.
According to a study conducted by a new Gallup estimate, the amount of people who identify as part of the LGBTQ community is about 10% of the total population around the world.
Human rights are also being violated to construct the infrastructure needed for the 2022 World Cup. In 2014, the International Trade Union Confederation reported that one Nepalese migrant working for the infrastructure for the World Cup dies every two days. Even though FIFA and Qatar’s government promised to work on improving the work conditions in Qatar, they have gotten worse.
The Guardian has played a key role reporting the use of modern day slavery to build this infrastructure faster and cheaper. Nepalese migrant workers are also having their payments withheld, are forced to work under extreme temperatures without access to water and their passports are taken away so they cannot leave the country without previous approval. Plus, an ESPN report estimates that at least 1.4 million migrant workers live under these conditions, and they are being abused to quickly and cheaply build all of the 2022 World Cup infrastructure in Qatar.
Why was Qatar considered as the “ideal” location for the World Cup? This location for the World Cup does not welcome the LGBTQ community and violates human rights. Many committee members of FIFA such as Ricardo Teixeira and Jack Warner have been accused of accepting bribes to vote for Qatar to host in 2022. This decision did not only fill their bank accounts but is a step back for all the inclusion and human rights progression that we seek as a society.