Monday, June 2, 2014

The Qatari World Cup Scandal

I am in no way a fan of soccer, but I do take an interest in the fact that Qatar has been granted the 2022 World Cup by FIFA, the international governing board. By all accounts, the granting of the World Cup to Qatar has been filled with irregularities. It is said that some $5 million dollars was paid to officials to support Qatar's bid to host the Cup in 2022.  But what qualifications does Qatar have for hosting the Cup other than it is one of the richest countries in the world? This is the country where Al Jazeera is based. It is also the country that shelters Islamic cleric Yusef al Qaradawi, the spiritual mentor of the Muslim Brotherhood. When it comes to international terrorism, a lot of fingers get pointed at Qatari money. It is a tiny country of about 300,000 citizens plus over one million foreign workers who do the heavy lifting-the manual labor and construction. Where is the infrastructure and where are the stadiums?

That's where the foreign workers come in. In the next eight years some 10 or so stadiums will be built-within close proximity to each other to accommodate all the games that must be played by the competing countries.  That leads to another factor that seemingly was "overlooked" by FIFA. In the summer, when the Cup is played, temperatures are well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit dictating either indoor stadiums or games played at night.

That takes us back to the construction issue. Doha, the booming capital, is dotted with construction sites. It has been reported that thousands of foreign workers-mostly poor people from South Asia, have died in Qatar from the poor working conditions. In addition, they live in a state of indentured servitude having to go into debt just to get the jobs, and are treated as second class in Qatar.

Human rights? Does that matter? Certainly not to FIFA.

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