24 November 2023
Writing: Adam Seymour (Year 8)
Photography: Fauzan Saari (Unsplash)
Editing: Arran Dhanda (Year 12)
Qatar was awarded the hosting rights of the 2022 World Cup in 2010, and over a decade later, the competition began. However, before the ball was even kicked, there was widespread public discourse over Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws and its treatment of migrant workers.
Firstly, in Qatar, it is illegal to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Members of the LGBTQ+ community can face up to three years in prison and are sentenced to undergo conversion therapy - this is when someone is forcibly converted to heterosexuality, often by physical and mental abuse.
In addition, many underprivileged workers from Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan travelled to Qatar on the promise of jobs in the construction sector. However, the working conditions were appalling. They laboured for long hours for very little money and often lived in poor, overcrowded accommodation. According to estimates from The Guardian, as of 2022, over 6,500 migrant workers died in Qatar since it became the host country.
Despite this, some people chose to defend Qatar, arguing that they were perfect to host this prestigious tournament due to two main reasons: firstly, many people wanted to see a Middle Eastern region host a World Cup, as this has never happened before. Secondly, Qatar’s plans featured innovative stadium designs and state-of-the-art infrastructure, which were believed to be highly sustainable.
Controversy around FIFA's choice for Qatar to host the World Cup was rife, with some choosing to boycott the games out of protest. In my opinion, Qatar should never have been awarded hosting rights for such a prestigious tournament as their treatment of migrants and people of various orientations and identities is simply unacceptable. While I understand that some people wanted a Middle-Eastern country to host a World Cup, FIFA could, in my opinion, have equally selected a different country, such as Turkey.