Around a month before the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022, many are questioning whether this Middle-Eastern country should be allowed to host.

Qatar holds a multitude of human rights violation allegations against the LGBTQ+ and female communities, but the recent controversy surrounds their migrant workers.

Many of Qatar’s labourers are migrant workers escaping poverty in countries such as Nepal, India and Bangladesh. Due to the government's failure to implement strict laws in work to protect people, many migrant workers are working in intolerable conditions. They also don't have a simple way out as the Middle-Eastern country requires an exit permit approved by the employer to leave a job.

However as imaginable, the employers are profiting tremendously off of these workers, so they would be reluctant to let them go. The government reported that 242,870 migrant workers couldn’t change their jobs from September 2020 to December 2021. 

But what has this got to do with the World Cup? The Khalifa Stadium where the event is being built by migrant workers. It is thought that they are paid around US$220 a month! That’s only $2640 a year compared to the UK minimum wage of £20,000.

These men reportedly aren’t allowed to leave the stadium or camp, are threatened and even receive delayed salaries despite the low starting cost.

To put these wages into perspective, company Six Construct is predicted to be paid US$90M+ for refurbishing the Khalifa stadium with the World Cup expected to add a whopping US$17B to the Qatari economy.

To add to the distress, The Guardian reported in 2021 that since Qatar won the bid for the World Cup in 2010 there have been 6,500 migrant workers reported deaths with many thinking that number is most likely much higher.

So why Qatar, after all these accusations? I asked my dad about his stance on the situation as a football fan.

He said "If it were not for the money, sports would not go there (Qatar) as it’s not a football nation…I’ll keep watching it for the football, not the venue."

So in short the money seems to be fuelling the ‘500 international sporting events' Qatar has hosted in the past 15 years, according to the Qatari government website. The current event headlining is the FIFA World Cup but another sport planning to frequent the country is F1.

F1 and Qatar have a 10-year contract starting from 2023 in which the Middle-Eastern country is said to pay an excess of US$40 million annually. As is evident, sporting events benefit massively monetarily from holding events in this country.

Realistically, not much will be done in terms of cancellations of events, but protests are occurring.

On a small scale, Denmark has chosen to opt for a black kit as a sign of disagreement with Qatar’s actions, but this is unlikely to have an effect as Qatar will still gain money from views, merchandise and ticket sales.

Similarly, some countries including Belgium and England would like to wear rainbow armbands to oppose the Qatari treatment of the LGBTQ+ community but again this will likely have little to no impact.

On a larger scale, some cities in France including Paris are refusing to hold outside viewings of the World Cup due to the environmental issues surrounding the event.

Despite these protests, many call for the countries to take responsibility and boycott the event completely. Overall though, it is likely that sporting events in controversial areas will continue but as protests intensify it is unclear how much longer this will occur.