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.
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 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.
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, 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
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.
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.
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, Dohaguides.com, 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.
FIFA World Cup 2022: Ghanaians Storm Streets Of Qatar With Local Songs, Video Melts Many Hearts
Meanwhile, YEN.com.gh 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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