The FIFA World Cup 2022 is almost upon us! As 20th November draws closer, the excitement is heightening! The bets are being placed, the sports analysts are at work, and everybody has drawn up their own world cup brackets. Who will win? Who will lose? It's anybody’s guess!
However, as questions of victory and loss fill every fan's mind, we feel there are other burgeoning questions that need answering. As a student’s union for one of the most diverse student bodies in the UK, we simply cannot turn a blind eye to some glaring ethical issues that have paved the way to make this world cup come to life.
7 new stadiums were built to host the 64 matches of the world cup. However, the infrastructure in Qatar has been built largely using a migrant labour workforce. There have been numerous allegations of workers’ rights abuse throughout. From passports being taken away until targets have been met to deaths of workers through improper construction regulations, there have been a lot of human rights red flags reported. Thus far, there have been 299 allegations of worker-rights abuse, 24700 potential workers’ whose lives have been ill-impacted by their work for FIFA, and an estimated 60% delay in wages to the workers. The Qatar world cup seems to owe a huge debt to its migrant workforce and we question if this debt can ever be truly repaid.
Aside from its inhumane treatment of migrant workers, akin to modern slavery, Qatar has also been a hotbed of anti-LGBT+ sentiments with laws that criminalise homosexuality and homosexual activities. Penalties range from fines to imprisonment and in some cases, even execution. The conflicting statements from Qatari officials on whether public displays of LGBTQ+ support by fans and companies will be accepted and whether it is safe for LGBTQ+ football fans to visit Qatar for the matches make it quite clear to us that inclusivity is not a priority for the authorities of this world cup.
At the same time, we wonder, can we celebrate with a country that ranks 142nd out of 152 countries in the world for women’s rights? With fundamental rights being restricted and their actions being governed by the men in their lives, women do not enjoy much autonomy here.
This world cup has drawn up so many discussions and questions. At LSE, we don’t intend to swipe them under the rug. We want to discuss and debate these issues. And, at the core of it, we want to remember that the world cup has always been an event that brings people together. World over, it is an event of unity and cheer. People join as one community, hoping for the victory of their team. We want this essence of community to be the focus of LSE’s celebrations.
The slogan for this world cup is ‘Expect Amazing!’. However, at LSE, we expect more. We expect inquiry. We expect accountability. We will be celebrating the 2022 World Cup, but we will be doing it our way. With unique activities surrounding the screenings of the matches, our celebrations will be inclusive and hopefully open your eyes to the rich and diverse cultures that thrive in the participating countries.
Is there a particular aspect of the World Cup you would like us to discuss? Is there a way of celebrating you want to introduce to us? We’d love to know! Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! Let us know how we can do better.