One of the most striking aspects of the 2022 World Cup is that it is taking place in winter. This is the first time in history that the massive tournament isn’t going down in summer. That’s because it would be too hot in Qatar for athletes to safely play outdoors. Winter was the only option for the event’s organizers but it came at a cost (via I News).
It was very controversial because it disrupted the lucrative major European soccer leagues and forced them into a hiatus. However, other nations and regions responded negatively too because of the changes. The Australian soccer association threatened to sue FIFA because of the new calendar.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino had a close relationship with Vladimir Putin that continues to tarnish the organization. The Russian despot awarded Infantino an Order of Friendship medal that Infantino continues to hold. He refused to distance himself from Putin after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.
Putin annexed Crimea in 2014 but this didn’t stop FIFA from awarding Russia the World Cup in 2018. The FIFA President’s bond with the Russian leader continues despite the latter being an international pariah. It’s one of the most shameful dynamics in world history but Infantino doesn’t care about that (via AP News).
Qatar observes sharia law and strictly bans its citizens from drinking alcohol. It’s legal for foreign visitors to drink it but they pay ridiculous prices in specially-licensed premises. However, FIFA promised this wouldn’t be a problem during the World Cup. Meanwhile, Qatar also agreed to sell liquor in their stadiums during the soccer festival.
Then, two days before the tournament began, they changed their minds and banned it from the venue. This was a major blow for FIFA because they have an advertising deal with Budweiser but Qatar made a power move. Some fans said that it didn’t matter but it showed a breach of trust between FIFA and the oil-rich nation (via Al Jazeera).
One of the most shameful and outrageous moments of the 2022 FIFA World Cup involved Belgium. Their second kit featured a rainbow-colored badge and the word ‘love’ on the inside of the collar. However, FIFA saw this as a political message and ordered them to remove it before their first game.
It didn’t matter that they had already approved the jerseys. They decided to appease Qatar by removing any chance of offense in a villainous twist. Most people thought that it was ludicrous that they did this because nobody can even see the word. Yet this is the ridiculous state of FIFA today (via Sky).
It says a lot about the 2022 World Cup that Qatari organizers agreed to pay fans to hype up the tournament. They instructed different groups to promote the event online and provide positive messages about the tournament. Furthermore, they also wanted them to downvote and report negative commentary about it.
The world’s media discovered what was going on and came out strongly against it. In the end, Qatar said that it wasn’t happening and canceled payments to the supporter groups. Some fans claimed that the government approached them but they refused because they didn’t want to sell their souls (via The Guardian).
There have been many distasteful stories around the 2022 World Cup but some of the most shameful involved broadcasting rights. Firstly, Al Jazeera allegedly offered FIFA $100 million for the tournament’s rights in a secret deal. Swiss police are investigating the alleged bribery.
Meanwhile, a former FOX networking executive claimed that the company also bribed FIFA for the TV rights. Then they threatened to sue the soccer organization because they set the tournament for winter. This meant that it would clash with the NFL postseason and threaten their ratings (via Daily Beast).
Many fans refused to travel to Qatar for the World Cup because they don’t want to watch games in graveyards. An estimated 6,500 workers died in the build-up to the competition. Some of them suffered from fatigue while others died because of workplace accidents. But Qatar attempted to cover up these tragedies in the World Cup’s most shameful story.
There have been many controversial host nations of different competitions because of their geopolitics. Qatar is the first modern country to use slave labor to construct venues and hide the deaths of their indentured workers. It’s a modern disgrace but nobody is doing anything about it (via NHK).
Qatar doesn’t recognize the state of Israel but they agreed to allow their national team into the country if they qualified for the World Cup. Israel failed to make it to the prestigious tournament but other countries also have Jewish fans. Qatar promised that they would have Kosher food as well as public Jewish prayer.
Then they backtracked on this and left many Jewish fans without anything to eat unless they broke their diets. Furthermore, they banned Jewish prayers but claimed this was to protect the fans. It’s one of the most shameful episodes of the tournament and another reason why the World Cup shouldn’t be in Qatar (via Jerusalem Post).
The 2022 World Cup has many issues but ticket sales shouldn’t be one of them. However, many U.K. and U.S. fans reported that they had problems retrieving digital tickets. This created chaos before some of the early games and meant that organizers printed paper tickets instead.
Some England fans missed the kick-off of their opening game against Iran because of these problems. It’s not the most shameful issue on this list compared to the human rights horrors. But it’s still a basic organizational error that shouldn’t be happening with all the resources they have (via Sportsnet).
Qatar claimed that this will be the most environmentally-friendly World Cup ever but they made a mockery of this statement. That’s because they are hosting the tournament in air-conditioned stadiums. The venues are blasting cold air out into the open and using massive amounts of energy at the same time.
It’s laughable that they claim to be saving the planet when they’re wasting electricity in this manner. FIFA could have assigned the World Cup to a country with a climate that is more compatible with soccer. But they saw the dollar signs and chased after them shamefully (via The Sun).
Many members of the LGBTQI community feared for their safety ahead of the 2022 World Cup. They pointed to the reality that it’s illegal to engage in homosexual activity in the nation. Activists observed that Qatar sentenced perpetrators to life imprisonment or even death as a punishment.
However, Qatar claimed that everybody was welcome for the World Cup. They asked fans not to demonstrate public displays of affection out of respect, regardless of sexual orientation. But during the event, stadium security continued to block the entry of fans with rainbow apparel or flags (via Time).
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).