The FIFA World Cup 2022, which kicked off yesterday in Qatar, is an affront to human dignity and workers’ rights.
It epitomises the depths of economic exploitation and human degradation which the Qatari state and the male branch of the al-Thani Royal family, which has been in power since the 1800’s has sunk to secure the right to stage the contest in the first place and the treatment of migrant workers employed to build the stadia and infrastructure.
It is estimated that at least 6,500 migrant workers died during the building phase – most from overwork in unsafe temperatures. The Qatari authorities refuse to confirm numbers or hold an investigation into the deaths. Many workers have had little or no time off, have worked 12 hour shifts and have been threatened with loss of wages or deportation if they report in sick.
The families of migrant workers are being denied financial compensation for the loss of their loved ones. A United Nations report found workers living in “squalid, overcrowded accommodation with no air-conditioning and exposed to overflowing sewage or uncovered septic tanks”.
That is how this World Cup has been delivered. Allegations of bribery and corruption, a total disregard for workers rights or human dignity and a political system that openly discriminates against ‘women and the LBGT+ community.
Qatar already has a poor history. Political parties are banned. The emir, himself
unelected, appoints the prime minister and cabinet members. He also chooses his
successor with the aid of the ruling family. Sharia courts have jurisdiction over all
family law matters. Women must obtain permission from their male guardians to
exercise many of their basic rights. Journalists and those protesting for their rights
have been detained.
This has placed the professional footballers and supporters in an invidious position. The Qatar World Cup is a World Cup of Shame. Qatar must be held to account