Hidden Truths: World Cup Qatar 2022

Insight into how Qatar apprehended the coveted title of World Cup host


Image courtesy FIFA

Sam Hokkanen, Contributor

It has been twelve years since Qatar was appointed to host the 2022 World Cup by FIFA (International Federation of Association Football). Qatar is a wealthy Arab country located in the Middle East, with a small population of 2 million. They are the first Arab country to host the World Cup. Their original bid was advertised as an opportunity to unite Western society with the Arab world and many thought they could get their bid accepted because of their wealth and economic resources. However, the story runs much deeper than that. 

In May 2011, two members of the FIFA Executive Committee were accused of bribery, however, a full investigation never ensued. Also, multiple Sunday Times reporters testified that Qatar had paid Ivory Coast and Cameroon representatives $1.5 million to support their World Cup bid. Mohammed bin Hammam, a member of the FIFA committee, played a large role in securing Qatar’s bid and was accused of bribing 25 FIFA officials to vote for his candidacy for the committee. It was clear that Qatar had bought the 2022 World Cup using bribery and corruption. However, they denied all accusations, and their bid remained solidified for the next ten years. 

There are eight stadiums, in five different cities, where matches were played for the 2022 World Cup. Seven of these stadiums have been completed since 2019, with the only original stadium being Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, which was completed in 1976. These massive projects required approximately 2 million migrant workers, primarily from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. In February 2021, The Guardian published an article revealing that over 6,500 migrant workers had died during the construction of stadiums in Qatar. These numbers were kept hidden from the public for almost an entire decade. 2,700 deaths were reported for Indian workers alone. Eighty percent of these deaths were reported to be “natural deaths.” The majority of deaths that took place were due to health issues rather than workplace incidents. Living conditions for these workers were beyond unacceptable, as they reported living in a small room with up to ten other people. Appliances and utilities were not taken care of, which led to malnutrition, dehydration, and disease for many of the workers. Most migrant workers were young men who chose to leave their families to work in Qatar – many of their families never saw them again. 

The World Cup is the most watched sports event in the world. It was created to unite nations with an internationally beloved sport. The manner in which Qatar was able to get its bid accepted is truly terrifying. The manner that migrant workers were treated during construction is equally horrifying. It is an incredibly sad story that has been concealed from the public eye, but the hidden truths of the World Cup Qatar 2022 are finally being revealed.