By: Liibaan Yusuf
One of the biggest events this year is the World Cup. What is the World Cup? It’s one of the most important soccer, or football, events in the world, with the big grand stage happening every 4 years. However, there are almost always games going on, whether they’re qualifiers or friendlies between countries.
The World Cup is also a big deal to governments across the world. Hosting the World Cup is a big responsibility and many countries try to join in on the opportunity. Hosting the World Cup, may cost a country at first, but it puts it on the map.
For example, in the past, World Cups held in Russia (2018) and Brazil (2014) were both fairly big for their time. Brazil had spent $15 billion USD on various investments towards the preparation of the 2014 World Cup. Russia had spent upwards of $11 billion USD towards new stadiums, metro systems, and employment for security and other positions.
However, the upcoming 2022 World Cup is unlike any we have seen in the past. Qatar has said to have invested $220 billion USD towards this year’s sporting event. Qatar, is substantially smaller than every country to have ever held a World Cup since the creation of the massive event.
Qatar has a history of extravagant spending, especially since the discovery of oil in the Middle East. The ruling Thani family is a family known for scandals and hidden secrets. Even though Qatar states they have invested $220 billion USD, there have been numerous scandals and issues hidden behind closed doors.
One of the biggest scandals, is that many expats come to Qatar from various countries, particularly those who come from less wealthy areas of the world. They come to Qatar for promises of work and wealth, however, this industry is built on lies and deceit. Passports and work clearances are taken and kept hostage by employers and they’re paid low wages. They work out in infamous Qatari heat. There have been many stories of people dying from heat exhaustion and other heat related causes.
However, Qatar has passed historic new laws and regulations calling for investigations into employers who’ve been caught violating workers rights. In fact, in April of 2021, the Qatari government put $824 million USD towards paying migrants who had COVID. Before this, manual labor workers who were sick would have no benefits or income for their time sick. In August of the same year, Qatar passed a law for a national minimum wage of 1000 riyals, about 300 more riyals than the previous minimum wage. “Qatar is the first country in the world to introduce non-discriminatory minimum wage,” according to the ‘International Labour Organization’.
Though Qatar has been known to have human rights issues, it would seem as though hosting the World Cup has led it to start paving the way for human rights in the Middle East. Hopefully, this will provide a fresh start for all through a shared interest for those around the world.