The Qatar World Cup is the most expensive in history after the Gulf nation spent $200 billion on the tournament. However, they projected that it would provide a $20 billion boost for their economy. Most of this money went toward infrastructure because Qatar built seven stadiums from scratch.
They also invested in the hotel sector and improved their public transport systems. Brazil previously held the record for the most expensive World Cup after they spent $15 million in 2014. It’s insane that Qatar poured so much money toward this event when they could have used it better (via Front Office Sports).
FIFA has a long and inglorious history when it comes to corruption. We’ve spoken already about the dubious way that Russia and Qatar obtained successive World Cups. But it feels like a week doesn’t go by without another FIFA scandal. This goes from the national level up to the organization’s presidency.
In 2022, Netflix released a revealing documentary about FIFA’s scandals and the shady antics behind the scenes. Former President Sepp Blatter received a ban after a court found him guilty of criminal mismanagement. But senior figures like Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer also suffered long-term suspensions (via ESPN).
One of the biggest questions before the World Cup in Qatar was where would all of the fans stay. Doha is the only major city in the tiny Gulf nation and didn’t have enough hotels for all of these visitors. It also didn’t seem sustainable to build dozens of hotels for one month of competition (via Reuters).
Some fans opted to stay in neighboring Dubai or Saudi Arabia. Then they flew or drove to the Qatari border before attending the games. Others stayed in renovated ship containers for $200 per night. Fans complained of rock-hard beds and noisy air conditioning systems that made it impossible to sleep.
A simple reason why the World Cup shouldn’t be in Qatar is that the country is too hot. That’s the reason why they moved the event to winter. During the summer, the temperature soars beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This would be unsafe for players to attempt to endure (via Goal).
That’s why the stadiums pump cold air from oversized air conditioning systems. But remember that workers suffered through these brutal temperatures as they constructed the tournament infrastructure. Meanwhile, some fans found it difficult to walk to stadiums and complained about the lack of refreshment facilities in the proximity.
Fans described the World Cup as FIFA’s Fyre Festival after experiencing appalling conditions in Doha. They paid an obscene $200 per night to stay in renovated shipping containers in designated fan zones. They also revealed the state of the food that they received at the controversial event (via New Zealand Herald).
Pictures of a Greek Salad went viral that displayed wilted lettuce leaves and watery tomatoes. It’s safe to say that fans expected more when they invested their life savings into attending the massive event. Qatar failed to prepare for its visitors and this is one of the most shameful aspects of the tournament.
Remember that it’s extremely expensive for fans to attend this World Cup. Flight ticket prices surged after Qatar received the World Cup and made it a massive investment. Then there’s the accommodation shortage in the nation because there aren’t enough hotel beds for visitors.
This made it very costly for supporters to stay in Qatar for the entire event. It’s a pity because the World Cup should feel like a festival but some fans only stayed for a couple of days before leaving. The most shameful aspect of this is that fans suffer while the executives line their pockets (via Time).
One of the most shameful and notorious aspects of the World Cup is Qatar’s repressive work laws. It used the Kafala system that prevents workers from changing jobs. Meanwhile, many employers confiscated their workers’ passports and prevented them from leaving. This was a major issue after the Nepal Earthquake when some citizens wanted to return to their country.
Previously they didn’t even have a minimum wage but this changed over the past couple of years. Qatar also deported many migrant workers in the week before the World Cup because they didn’t have enough housing for fans. It’s shocking but we shouldn’t feel surprised about their vile treatment (via The Guardian).
Soccer executives want to have biannual World Cups because they want to milk fans out of their money. They don’t care about the quality of the product on the field because dollars are more important. They don’t realize that saturating the market will turn supporters away from the event.
That’s also why they handed the tournament to Qatar. It didn’t matter that the tiny nation didn’t have the infrastructure to host a major global event. That’s because Qatar has a lot of money and will fatten the pockets of all the game’s bosses. It’s ludicrous but this is the world we live in (via DW).
Another issue with the World Cup is Qatar’s ridiculous treatment of women. The nation’s defenders point to the high number of women in third-level education. However, it has a horrible record when it comes to sexual assault cases. Often women suffer arrests themselves after accusing men of violating them.
Qatar’s guardianship laws also remain controversial because men are in control of women’s destinies. This guardianship passes from father to husband after the woman marries. It’s a regressive practice that has no place in the modern world. But FIFA didn’t care about this when they handed them the World Cup (via Human Rights Watch).
There’s another practical reason why this is the most shameful World Cup ever. It puts players under increased stress because of the density of the soccer calendar. The global health crisis compressed tournaments and prevented athletes from recovering. That’s why some big stars suffered injuries.
More players will likely incur muscular problems and other minor injuries because of the intensity. This isn’t sustainable and some stars called FIFA out for their greed. The governing body is treating them like racehorses instead of like people. It’s not feasible in the long run (via The Athletic).
Most western nations enjoy the freedom of speech and resent government interference in the media. Some outlets indeed have political biases but they report what they want. But this isn’t the situation in Qatar where critics will receive lengthy jail sentences. This was a serious issue for foreign journalists before the World Cup.
That’s because they had a dilemma about whether to attend the event or not. They didn’t want to live in fear of the Qatari government or face interference. There were embarrassing incidents where security moved foreign reporters. But these people enjoy more freedom than the local press (via Reuters).
FIFA President Gianni Infantino accused the West of trying to teach moral lessons ahead of the World Cup. He pointed to centuries of colonialism as he attempted to silence the critics. However, this is a ridiculous argument because historic issues shouldn’t prevent a country from speaking up.
FIFA’s hypocrisy is almost funny if it didn’t affect millions around the world. It may also cost the organization in the long term because some countries are losing patience. The administration lacks self-awareness and is extremely greedy. Their problem is that fans see through the deception (via DW).
Another of the most shameful episodes of this World Cup was the One Love armband ban. Several European nations agreed to wear it as a show of solidarity with the LGBTQI community. But then FIFA intervened at the last moment and warned them against it. Captains who wore the armband could receive a suspension.
This outraged the countries with Germany issued a harsh response. They took FIFA to a court of arbitration and accused the body of abusing its power. It also humiliated the governing body because it showed its true colors in front of the world. They claimed to care about equality but that wasn’t true (via Sky Sports).
Gianni Infantino’s opening speech will go down as one of the most shameful moments in sports history. The FIFA President described how he felt ‘Qatari,’ a ‘migrant worker,’ and ‘gay’ in a script that was out of a Larry David episode. Remarkably, he thought people would respond well to this.
The tone-deaf executive revealed that he is out of touch with the average soccer fan. He told them to stay out of politics while making the tournament the most political ever. The worst part is that he didn’t surprise people with his comments because they already think that he’s a moron (via ESPN).
Many people only want to watch soccer and don’t care about politics. According to FIFA, that’s what everybody should do but they’re missing the point. Qatar didn’t buy the World Cup because they love soccer. They did it because they want to increase their soft power and that’s the most shameful thing.
They hope that everybody will shut up and watch the games. But they didn’t realize that many of these issues affect people around the world. Many soccer fans opted out because they don’t want to contribute to Qatar’s agenda. It remains to be seen how effective it will be (via The Conversation).
Everybody knows that history won’t be kind to the 2022 World Cup. It’s insane that FIFA allowed it to go ahead and that countries didn’t boycott. So many people died constructing the stadiums. Meanwhile, their repressive laws are against the spirit of the tournament they’re hosting.
FIFA doesn’t care about this now because they are making money. But when we look back at the tournament it will be almost laughable. They won’t understand why more nations didn’t get angry over this joke of an event. It’s especially crazy after what happened with Russia (via The Guardian).