2022 World Cup met with slew of controversy


Omar Chatriwala via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Protest such as these even preceded the beginning of World Cup 2022. This photo, taken in 2012, called for stricter workers rights as the venues for the World Cup were being built.

Lucas Seguinot, Lead Features Editor

In an event usually marked with joyous celebrations, the 2022 World Cup is one marked by protest from angry fans around the world. On November 20th, the 22nd World cup started with 32 teams competing for the illustrious title of the champions of the world. The host nation Qatar was awarded the ability to host the competition in 2010 after beating nations such as the US, Japan, and more. With their win, they became the first Arab nation to host the event. After years of controversy, a climax has been reached at the beginning of the tournament.

 Immediately prompting the awarding of hosting for Qatar, calls of bribery were made. The US promptly led these after their runoff loss to the small middle eastern nation.

Coming into the world cup, Qatar only had 1 major stadium that could hold the appropriate amount of spectators. Quickly after obtaining the bid Qatar began the construction of 7 new stadiums, an extension of their airport, new roads, and ways to house all of the incoming supporters, FIFA officials, and athletes. To do this work, Qatar hired 30,000 foreign laborers who arrived in Qatar in the years leading up to 2020. In a 2021 study by The Guardian, they claimed to have uncovered the truth and revealed that more than 6,500 foreign laborers have died in the process of revamping the infrastructure. The government of Qatar begs to differ. Qatar has released a statement saying that there have only been 37 deaths at World cup related sites. 

This has stirred up controversy amongst both fans and players. Teams such as the Danish national team have made efforts to protest the event. FIFA has rejected the team’s request to wear warm-up shirts with a statement regarding human rights. Still, the team will wear jerseys with toned-down logos from their jersey supplier Hummel. Hummel on Instagram said, “We don’t wish to be visible during a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives.” Similarly, large fan protests and boycotts have sprung up including a #Boycott Qatar 2022 sign at a game in Germany’s top division. 

Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter has even said that the “Qatar World Cup is a mistake”. Blatter said that the country is too small and it isn’t able to host such a grand event.

As a Muslim country, Qatar has numerous laws that align with their religious beliefs, one of them being the banning of homosexuality. In this World Cup, Qatar and Fifa have threatened nations who choose to proceed with the One Love Campaign. This campaign promotes LGBTQ+ rights as team captains will wear a heart with multiple colors on their armbands. Teams such as the English, Germany, and the Netherlands have decided not to go on with the plan as players who violate the Fifa statement will gain a yellow card. 

Similarly, Qatar’s laws prohibit the consumption and sale of alcohol at the World Cup event areas. Qatar made this controversial decision just 2 days before the games started. 

Even though with the controversy the Masters community has been obsessed with the games. Large watch parties could be found in the FC and even in the library where students project it on the TVs in conference rooms. 

Junior Konstantin Miebach has been keeping up with the games very closely. Miebach expressed that these games have felt different because of everything that has been going on.

“I think it was a little overshadowed by the excitement but you keep it in the back of your mind even when watching it online.”

As the World Cup reaches the quarter-final stage and nears the end the controversy has shared the spotlight with the intense upsets that this world cup is becoming recognizable for. A pitch invader during the Portugal vs Uruguay game ran on the field waving a rainbow flag, a symbol of LGBTQ+ pride. The invader also wore a shirt saying save Ukraine and respect for Iranian women, highlighting this year’s most notable political issues. He was later taken into custody but was released.