Discussions unveiled by Qatar’s 2022 World Cup

While Argentina’s 4-2 victory against France was felt across the globe, other sensitive factors were at play during Qatar’s 2022 World Cup. 

According to multiple news sources, many issues were determined before, during and after the World Cup. Before the games even began, there was and still is a discussion of human rights abuse regarding construction of the World Cup and the migrant workers doing the building. 

Sources from Radio New Zealand and BBC News have released this message through first-person accounts or investigations. The BBC quoted a man using the name Stephen Ellis who was a construction worker for a World Cup site in Doha, Qatar. 

Ellis said, “I left after two weeks because the conditions were an absolute disgrace. I work as a pipefitter and supervisor and have been on construction sites all over the world. These were the worst conditions I’ve ever seen on any site.”

The alleged number of deaths there ranges from single digits to the hundreds. The issue of human rights abuse in Qatar has been going on for years, but due to the World Cup’s spotlight on it, workers’ rights may change in the future. Even then, there are mixed reviews on if the reports from the World Cup will affect anything. 

Along with having the World Cup games in Qatar, many foreign LGBTQIA+ attendees or those supportive of the community had to deal with prejudice due to the law criminalizing same-sex acts in the country. 

It was reported teams were told they could not wear rainbow armbands or they would be yellow carded, and people going to watch the games had to remove any LBGTQIA+ symbolism they were wearing. 

“We had a little discussion, we were being respectful and said, ‘We’re not going to throw it away but we’re going to put it in our pockets,” a German soccer fan Bengt Kunkel interviewed by WSVN said. 

While the information brought attention to Qatar’s anti-gay laws, there has not been any discussion on whether this would change anything. 

Another notable moment that drew eyes to the World Cup other than the games themselves was the country Iran. 

In recent times, Iranian protests against the government were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being detained by Iran’s morality police allegedly for not following the dress code for women. 

Before Iran’s match against the United States on Nov. 29, 2022, the U.S. Soccer Federation used Iran’s national flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic to support the protestors in Iran. 

The federation said, “We wanted to show our support for the women in Iran with our graphic for 24 hours.” 

Though the flag was later changed back with the emblem, the Iranian media expressed displeasure with this choice later on. 

With this in mind, the Iranian soccer team had much more to think about other than the games at hand. The team’s players stood in the middle of being criticized by their government if they did something to acknowledge the protests or being shamed for not doing anything by those in Iran. 

The tension was heightened due to their previous match against England, when the players did not sing Iran’s national anthem. In doing this, a source involved with the security at the games said the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps threatened the players’ families if they continued further with similar acts. 

Iran did end up losing to the U.S. 1-0, and there were varying opinions from Iranians. Some celebrated in the street in protests against the government, while others were displeased with the outcome. 

Qatar’s 2022 World Cup brought to light many global discussions which needed to be had, but only time will tell if these conversations will bring about change for the future.