A World Cup shrouded in controversy

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We examine the corruption allegations and human rights violations that have raised big questions about the tournament in Qatar.

  • The World Cup in Qatar is the first ever to take place in the Middle East. But the endeavor has been enmeshed in controversy since the small country was announced host nation in 2010.
  • U.S. investigators allege FIFA officials accepted bribes in exchange for their votes in favor of Qatar. Nearly all of the 22 FIFA officials on the committee who voted have been accused of corruption.
  • Qatar lacked the stadiums and infrastructure needed to host such a large tournament. To build it, the country recruited migrant workers from poor parts of the world.
  • Many migrant workers suffered mistreatment and died in the process of building. More than 6500 workers from South Asian countries lost their lives, according to a 2021 Guardian investigation.
  • Human rights groups accuse the Qatari government of myriad abuses, including the arbitrary arrest of LGTBQ+ people. Questions remain about how the country will now treat foreign LGTBQ+ fans.
  • Qatar is governed by an emir with absolute power and who follows an ultraconservative form of Islam. The country became immensely rich following the discovery of the world’s largest gas field in 1971.
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