The World Cup 2022 is the most anticipated sporting event for many Singaporeans and pretty much everyone else on the planet this year but this edition is considered the most controversial yet.
From human rights concerns to extreme climate, this edition of the World Cup is currently facing various challenges that could potentially disrupt the planned event. Let’s take a look at some of these problems one by one.
Ever since Qatar was announced to host the 2022 World Cup, it has met with a lot of raised eyebrows.
Well, for starters, unlike Singapore, the country has no football history (or at least a massive football fanbase), and it is not surprising that the nation has no existing infrastructure that can accommodate such humongous events like the World Cup.
Concerns about migrant workers
It was reported that over 6,500 migrant workers have died constructing the stadiums and other infrastructures for the World Cup and the rest are vulnerable to abuse. There are also reports that workers were treated harshly and poorly compensated albeit working long hours.
Several human rights advocates and organizations prompted the government of Qatar to reform its policies regarding the safety of migrant workers.
Bribery allegations in the bidding process
The bidding process that led to the awarding of the hosting privileges of the World Cup to Qatar has met with allegations of bribery.
Reports detailing that ex-vice president of FIFA Jack Warner received nearly 2.8 million Singaporean dollars from the president of Asian Football Confederation Mohammed bin Hammam in 2011 have been made public.
It was also reported that several African officials were paid around 2 million Singaporean dollars to vote for Qatar during the bidding process.
Qatar has a clear punishment for homosexuality as serious as a death penalty. This has raised concerns from the LGBT communities around the world about the safety of queer players and fans of the FIFA World Cup.
Despite these concerns, the organizers of FIFA did not take this matter seriously. FIFA President Sepp Blatter assured them that they will be welcomed in the country, as long as they will avoid any sexual activity.
Extreme summer heat
Qatar is one of the nations located in a region that has severe temperatures during the summer, even hotter than the summer period of Singapore or its neighboring countries. For this reason, there are concerns about the health of the players competing with such extreme conditions.
The 2021 Club World Cup that was supposed to be happening last year was canceled for the same reasons.
Playing in the extreme summer heat is dangerous to the health of the players and supporters but the organizers of the World Cup assured fans that all of the venues are well-ventilated.
Tensions in the Arab World
Tensions in the Arab region have been rising ever since the US drone strike assassinated Iran Major General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq. It has prompted Iran to wage war against the United States.
Due to the growing unrest in the Arab world, the US national team and several clubs have abandoned their idea of setting up a training camp in Qatar.
The host nation is worried that if the tension does not subside, it will have a huge impact in the upcoming World Cup event. It may cause several teams to back out from the competition for team’s safety.
There are many controversies and concerns surrounding the upcoming World Cup, among these is the concerns about the coronavirus outbreak because of the huge events like this that make social distancing and safety measures might be compromised.
Even though there are several COVID-related restrictions that have just been lifted in Singapore, don’t expect that the same can be expected for Qatar.
Finally, there are indeed many reasons why the World Cup should not be played in Qatar, but the preparations for the event that took several years has shown the commitment of Qatar to its hosting responsibilities.