Qatar, a tiny Middle Eastern peninsula with little recognition, is hosting the 2022 World Cup without ever having participated in the event. This year marks Qatar’s first World Cup and hosting of the games, leaving both soccer fans and non-soccer fans alike confused with its sudden recognition. Back in 2010 when the bids for the 2022 World Cup host were held, FIFA had concerns over Qatar’s lack of infrastructure needed to hold the game and the intense and dangerous heat. Despite these concerns, Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s president at the time, supported the bid for Qatar and the spread of football to “new land”.
However, Blatter’s feelings changed and now warns that Qatar was not the right choice. Since 2010, the criteria for hosting the World Cup have been updated and now include human rights. As preparation for the World Cup, Qatar built new stadiums, hotels, roads, and more infrastructure that were needed to hold the incoming players and spectators. In order to do so, more migrant workers were needed than ever before and were met with low wages and poor working conditions. Qatar is currently under fire for its anti-LGBTQ+ laws by countries such the US and England, who wore rainbow armbands in protest before being advised not to by FIFA. In addition to the Qatar controversy, it was uncovered in 2020 that the country bribed bidders to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.
While it’s still unknown the effects the 2022 World Cup will have on future events and the country, it’s safe to say that this year’s cup has been interesting to follow.