Weekly Digest #57
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In this digest-
1. Article- Inside the several controversies surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar
2. Happiness Quotient From Around The World
3. Did You Know?
4. Entertainment Quotient
Inside the several controversies surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar
By: Agastya Rao
The FIFA World Cup is the highlight sporting event of 2022. While most World Cups are surrounded by controversies such as accusations of cheating and match fixing by players, teams and officials, this World Cup in Qatar has been mired with many controversies since it was awarded the rights to hold the World Cup in 2010.
Background: Qatar awarded the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup-
In a controversial moment, Qatar was officially awarded the rights to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup, beating the USA’s bid 14-8. The bids were shrouded in mystery, and led to a corruption investigation by the USA’s Justice Department and the FBI among others where several FIFA officials and sports marketing executives were indicted for charges that ranged from wire fraud to racketeering.
The Justice Department alleged that there were many bribes that went to corrupt officials and marketing executives, including bribes going towards getting officials to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Russia’s winning bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup was also investigated in a joint effort between Swiss and American authorities. Interestingly, the controversy was accelerated further when FIFA banned 11 officials for violating the Fifa Code of Ethics.
Other suspicious incidents included the head of UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), Michel Platini (French) and the President of France Mr Sarkozy meeting the Emir of Qatar, where it is believed that Mr Platini switched his vote to vote for Qatar to host the World Cup. Further “coincidences” followed after this, such as the Emir’s Government purchasing prominent French football club Paris Saint-Germain.
By the end of the Justice Department’s investigation, 50 people and companies pled guilty to a variety of charges of bribery and money laundering. However, FIFA reiterated their innocence, and the Justice Department later agreed, thus leading to FIFA essentially washing their hands off the matter.
Regardless, the World Cup in Qatar continued, and is still happening. However, the controversies continued through the world cup-
FIFA World Cup Controversies-
Qatar is well known for being homophobic and not supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. The Human Rights Watch reported that transgender women in Qatar were forced into government mandated conversion therapy. Reports have also been made of members of the LGBTQ community faced harrasment and abuse when under police custody. It has also been reported that members of the LGBTQ community were arrested purely for their expression of their gender, as stated in the Human Rights Watch report on Qatar for 2022.
This was one of the alarming facts which added to the suspicion around how Qatar managed to get the bid for the World Cup. Sure, while the USA has its own fair share of problems (Gun Violence and Police Brutality, Racism…), the alarming poor treatment of the LGBTQ community in Qatar is a serious problem, despite the assurances made by the Qatari Government that everyone will be treated equally and peacefully.
2. Poor Treatment of Migrant workers-
90% of Qatar’s labour force is made up of migrant workers, and it is these workers who were responsible for building the large amounts of infrastructure for the World Cup. These workers were terribly mistreated, underpaid, made to work overtime in harsh conditions and extreme heat, and were paid their wages late or the wages were withheld from them altogether.
Moreover, it was also reported by the Human Rights Watch, that many of the workers (who would come from countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) paid exorbitant fees to be able to get to work in Qatar in the first place, by paying over a $1000 to recruitment agencies.
Also controversial, is a rule in Qatar that gives employers a large amount of control over the visas of migrant workers called the Kafala System. For example, a worker showing up late to walk can lead to the employer filing a charge saying the worker was absconding, which can lead to the deportation.
While the World Cup shall provide great entertainment, thrilling football matches and millions of dollars in Media rights and Sponsorship money, it is important to remember that the World Cup was built on the backs of migrant workers, who were treated poorly. Moreover, the World Cup will lead to profits and attention to a country which has a poor track record when it comes to human rights and Anti-LGBTQIA+ Laws.
By: Abhimanyu Rao
By: Mihir Rao
Entertainment quotient for the week:
38 at the Garden
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