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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Qatar 2022: Corruption and Tragedy

Photo credit: inhabitat.com
The selection of Qatar as host for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has been connected with corruption of officials and tragic events for the workers building the stadiums. The country's selection was met with disenchantment and anger for some, ecstasy for others, but what is the truth behind all the rumors?

Certainly, the significant wealth of the country (one of the highest GDP in the world) suggests it was a determining factor. It may be that this wealth could translate into fabulous venues never before experienced. On the other hand, what role did money play in swaying the FIFA committee?

While FIFA refuses to review new corruption allegations, evidence continues to mount on misconduct on part of top FIFA officials. Further, serious questions remain about the actual feasibility of playing in Qatar during the height of summer, with a move to winter being a distinct possibility. However, club teams in Europe are not on board.

One other subject worth mentioning here is the tragedy associated with the laborers in the construction of Qatar 2022 stadiums. If has been reported by multiple outlets, including ESPN, that conditions for migrant workers are deplorable. ESPN's video was an eye-opening piece of journalism work and I recommend watching it.

Clearly, Qatar has a long way to go to comply with the international community in more than just their capability to hold the tournament, but on the human rights issue. Further, most international tournaments like the World Cup and the Olympics carry with them inherent inequities. Brazil 2014 has seen rampant corruption with skyrocketing costs and the population has rightfully marched in protest.

If corruption did occur when Qatar 2022 was chosen as host, and if FIFA does change the dates to a winter schedule then terrible precedents are set for the organization. Let's hope that the sport can get past this point in time.

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