Qatar Brings Controversy to the World Cup (OPINION)


Keshavan Badri, Forum Writer

He dribbles the ball and shoots. Beads of sweat trickle down everyone’s’ foreheads as they watch the screen of the school laptop with the ball hurdling in the air, the lecture going unheard. The goalkeeper leaps, missing the ball and it’s a goal.

The World Cup is a rare event occurring every four years and takes place across the globe. This year, the country hosting the event, Qatar, has riled up fans and brought up controversy about its credibility.

The World Cup, or any sports event, is about inclusivity. The mutual interest in sports can bring two strangers together in the spirit of competition. However, Qatar’s stand on the LGBTQ+ community has left them unwelcome from being in Qatar, ruining the viewing experience for this certain group. Paul Doran, a world religions teacher, says that holding a world cup in a country known for its opposition to certain human rights was not the right decision.

“When hosting a cup, it is important in upholding your values,” Doran said. “However, a country excluding a large group of harmless people from enjoying the cup because they oppose the country’s views is highly unprofessional. The banning of rainbow armbands and kits colored like it is unnecessary sensory”

Doran explained that blaming Qatar and its stand on LGBTQ+ will not change their views, the root problem is with FIFA. Even as Qatar’s stands were publicly known, FIFA took the decision to host the world cup in Qatar as they were bribed into doing so during voting. In the process of acquiring money from Qatar, the inclusion of certain groups was inevitably compromised.

“The main problem is FIFA’s corruption,” Doran said. “They have already held cups in autocratic countries, Argentina and Russia, however, they still don’t care about the values of the places they hold it in, only the money they receive.”

The construction of stadiums in Qatar that are used to host the world cup was built by immigrant workers, of which 6500 died, 37 directly relating to the world cup. Qatar denies these numbers and numbers the deaths related to the world cup as a few. However, after thorough reports, Qatar was proven in hiding the number of deaths of immigrant workers for it to be more appealing in hosting the world cup. Instead of honoring the people that died for the world cup, Qatar simply dismisses them.

The world cup and alcohol go hand in hand, however, because of Qatar’s no-alcohol policy, Budweiser was refused a $75 million sponsorship, making them lose a large number of sales. Last world cup, in 2018, fans consumed 3.2 million bottles of beer of that only 2% were non-alcoholic. The exclusion of beer in world cup games not only lost companies’ money but also deprived fans of a good experience.

“So far games are fun to watch, however, they would be far more fun to watch with beer,” Sean Parker said. “It gives a rush, and when you are drinking with the game happening in front of you, it provides an experience like no other.”

Currently, because of the time zone the cup is held in, watching games live is difficult. For students at Skyline, games are watched in class, sometimes put on by teachers, and other times secretly watched during class hours. Raghav Swaminathan, a sophomore, says that this inconvenient watch time makes the cup less easy to follow and less enjoyable to watch.

“I’m not able to dedicate time to watch games because they are all in class hours, and that takes the fun out of watching because you don’t know when you can or can’t watch,” Swaminathan said. “I’m not able to only watch the game and see how they play to improve my game because everything is during class hours.”

Apart from Qatar’s controversial stand on human rights, Qatar’s ability to host a world cup is also a gateway for more middle eastern countries to hold the cup in the future. It is a country with ever growing tourism and the world cup is a way for it to showcase everything the country has to offer.

“Qatar is a really interesting place,” Parker said. “Apart from watching the games, there are so many things to do, sightseeing, amusement parks, and other activities like camel riding, things that you can’t experience elsewhere. It is definitely a place I recommend others to go to.”

Although this year the world cup struggles to include certain groups, it does have the potential to improve, hosting the cup in Qatar, paves way for more middle eastern countries to host the cup. This year’s world cup also allows Qatar to reevaluate where it stands on supporting LGBTQ+ and the inclusivity of these groups.