Fifa World Cup: 4 Controversies That Qatar’s Hosting Of The World Tournament Has Created

Fifa World Cup: 4 Controversies That Qatar’s Hosting Of The World Tournament Has Created

With just days to the major football tournament in Qatar, the controversies that the host nation has stirred still persist. From concerns about Qatar's poor human rights record to stern laws against alcohol consumption, the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar presents an interesting precedent.

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Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 Fifa World Cup from November 20 to December 18, has been dogged with massive controversy and protests.

Since 12 years ago when Fifa announced that the Middle Eastern nation will host the biggest soccer fiesta, issues about the country’s human rights, immigration laws and poor conditions for workers have come to the fore.

Within the country, however, there no political or social issues in contention over the hosting of the world soccer tournament. But political watchers attribute this to the Absolute Monarchy system of government of the desert-country that makes free speech costly.

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Qatar's hosting of the Fifa World Cup has been dogged with massive controversy.
Fans of Freiburg display a banner about boycotting the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Source: Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

Here are some of the political and social issues brought against Qatar since the country was announced as host of Fifa World Cup and existing rules in that country that could ruin the football fiesta.

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Qatar’s Poor Human Rights Record

Human rights campaigners like Human Rights Watch have raised issues about the Gulf state’s human rights records, pointing out that Qatar has made homosexuality a criminal offence.

The LGBT community has fiercely spoken out against Qatar's anti-LGBT laws.
Two women kiss next to a board during a symbolic action by LGBT+ associations in front of the FIFA museum in Zurich to call FIFA to defend the rights of the LGBT+ community Source: Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

The country has also been blamed for giving women limited social and political rights.

According to the Washington Post, during the World Cup, players can wear armbands to support LGBTQ rights while on the field, however, off the field such protests could trigger severe punishment from Qatari officials.

Poor Working Conditions For Immigrants In Qatar

It was only in 2018 that Qatari authorities were compelled to kickstart major changes to longstanding poor working conditions.

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Qatar and many of the Gulf states have been heavily criticised for poor working conditions for expatriate labourers, some of whom come from some of the poor countries in Africa and Asia.

Qatar is the smallest country by population to host the World Cup with only 3 million people in the country.
A man walks outside the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 8, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup football tournament. Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region run the controversial “kafala system” that denies foreign workers many social, political and legal rights. For example foreign workers cannot unionise.

But since 2018 when the International Labor Organisation established a Doha office to support workers’ rights, things have imporoved. Qatar has now made significant policy changes and dismantled the kafala system.

Critics Say Qatar’s Small Population Makes It Unfit To Host The World Cup

Members of staff wearing masks work at Qatar's touristic Souq Waqif bazar in the capital Doha, on May 17, 2020.
Members of staff wearing masks work at Qatar's touristic Souq Waqif bazar in the capital Doha, on May 17, 2020. Source: Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

Qatar is officially the smallest country to ever host the World Cup. Because of the size and population of the country, many international fans, teams and spectators have expressed doubt about the country’s ability to contain the estimated 1.5 million visitors that will arrive in the country because of the World Cup.

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Qatar’s population is only 3 million, so with 1.5 million people storming the country for the tourney have raised fears that even motorcades for the teams and V.I.P.s, private cars and thousands of free buses to transport fans that will flood the roads will cause a bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Qatar's Strict Laws Against Alcohol Could Stifle World Cup Atmosphere

Although consumption of alcohol bought from authorised suppliers is legal, drinking of alcohol in public is strictly prohibited and punishable by law in Qatar.

A woman lies on a bench after leaving a bar in Bristol City Centre on October 15, 2005 in Bristol, England
A woman lies on a bench after leaving a bar in Bristol City Centre on October 15, 2005 in Bristol, England. Source: Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

Tourists and non-Muslims may, however, drink alcohol in private as long as they don't get intoxicated and create a nuisance for others.

According to pro-Qatari government website,, drinking alcohol in public or being found drunk is illegal and could attract heavy fines and even jail terms.

However with just days to the big soccer event, there is not much the football world and lovers of the game who have already trooped to Qatar can do. With or without the political and social issues, the spirit of the beautiful game will dominate.

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FIFA World Cup 2022: Ghanaians Storm Streets Of Qatar With Local Songs, Video Melts Many Hearts

Meanwhile, has reported in separate story that a video of Ghanaian supporters currently in Qatar to witness the FIFA World Cup surfaced online as they got together to sing native songs.

In the video that has warmed the hearts of many Ghanaians back home, the supporters chanted songs in Twi and Ga which are the common languages spoken in country.

Many have reacted to the video with some confessing that the video did give them goosebumps with others also cheering them on for spreading the Ghanaian morale to Qatar.

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George Nyavor (Head of Politics and Current Affairs Desk) George Nyavor writes for He has been Head of the Politics and Current Affairs Desk since 2022. George has over 9 years of experience in managing media and communications (Myjoyonline and GhanaWeb). George is a member of the Catholic Association of Media Practitioners Ghana (CAMP-G). He obtained a BA in Communications Studies from the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2010. Reach out to him via

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