Persecution overshadows the World Cup


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The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held in the middle eastern country Qatar and has been one of the most controversial World Cups ever.

Qatar is a religious country with an official religion which is Islam. One of the fans biggest concerns were the religious laws of Qatar which prohibit drinking which is something that is a huge part of prior World Cups and for some the best part of going. What is an even larger issue  is that these religious laws actively persecute and denounce members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Since 2004, Article 296 of the current Penal Code stipulates imprisonment between one and three years for sodomy between men. However since extramarital sex is punishable by death and same sex couples are not allowed to get married this is often the loophole the government uses to kill members of the LGBTQ+ community. These innocent people live in fear everyday that someone will find out about their sexuality and they will be killed. The main question is what does this mean for LGBTQ+ fans?

Despite these religious laws In an interview with Piers Morgan Hassan Al-Thawadi, Secretary General of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy claimed that Qatar is “Safe for everyone” and that “We (Qatar) are simply a conservative culture”

Many players on the teams in the World Cup had an issue with this and to show respect the captains of each time decided to wear a rainbow One Love armband but once Qatar got a hold of this news they told players they will not be permitted to play if they wear the armband. Since this is one the most important tournaments to all players they sadly but understandably did not wear the armbands. 

The country has very limited freedom of speech and press so unfortunately there is nothing protecting players from this banning. While Residents have the small freedom of private discussion Qatar reportedly has security forces dedicated solely to monitoring personal communications. Social media users can face criminal penalties for posting politically sensitive content.

 Why is a country with such disgusting laws that violate Human Rights be put on a pedestal and given the privilege of hosting the World Cup? Many believe the only reason Qatar was chosen was because of the country’s wealth. The World Cup has always been used as a symbol of power for countries and countries often compete in different ways to obtain the privilege of hosting the world cup. Some countries even go as far as using illegal methods to obtain this. Recently, Switzerland has announced a criminal investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. 

FIFA has an extensive history of alleged corruption, this is not the first time the method of world cup selection has been questioned nor investigated. On May 27, 2015 FIFA officials were indicted in a $150 million bribery scandal in connection with the selection of South Africa as the host country for the 2010 World Cup. It is doubted that FIFA learned from this arguably making an even more controversial selection this year. 

Bribery does not seem farfetched when you consider how wealthy the country of Qatar is. In just 50 years the country went from extremely poor to one of the world’s largest hotspots for oil with the highest per-capita gross domestic product in the world at $98,800. Many suggest that number may vastly understate the actual wealth of Qatar’s 280,000 citizens. Bribery is not even the worst scandal Qatar is currently facing with many appalled at the amount of migrant workers who died in the midst of preparing the country for the World Cup. 

In the same interview with Morgan Al-Thawadi estimated that 400-500 migrant workers died on the sites for the World Cup. Considering this death toll Qatar’s methods and workers conditions have been questioned ethically. Especially with the extreme heat Qatar faces some days reaching up 120 degrees Fahrenheit. 

It is undoubtedly suspicious that FIFA chose Qatar as the host country considering the drawbacks they knew they would face and are currently facing. If FIFA officials are once again proven guilty there needs to be punishment on a larger scale and their selection decisions moving further need to be closely monitored as they have proven to not be a trustworthy organization.