The World Cup in Qatar will go down in history for being the World Cup of controversy, a celebration surrounded by controversy for violating the human rights of workers, women and the LGTB+ collective.
Workers without rights
Qatar is a country in which close to 90% of the inhabitants are foreigners, which is why it was necessary to hire migrant labour to be able to build hotels, stadiums and various infrastructures to prepare for the World Cup.
Most of the workers come from Asia, from countries like India, Sri Lanka or Pakistan. The problem has come with the lamentable working conditions to which they have been subjected; Endless work hours, hellish temperatures of over 50 degrees. Workers have not only been abused, but have also been in fatal accidents.
According to several media outlets, the number of dead workers could exceed 6,500. When the controversy over these accidents broke out, the Qatari authorities introduced several changes in labour regulations to curb the numerous accidents, but this did not stop them from suffering abuses of power.
Working days of 10 hours, at 300 euros -at most per month- and under scorching heat that causes numerous sun strokes to the workers.
Do women have any rights in Qatar?
Women's rights or, rather, the lack of women's rights is one of the controversies that have surrounded the World Cup. That stems from Wahhabism, a version of Islam that, along with Islamic law and tribal traditions, leaves women without rights or freedoms.
Women under 25 years of age must be under male guardianship, they need to ask permission to study, work, marry or travel. They are not able to ask for a divorce and, if they do, it is almost impossible for them to be granted. In addition, if there were children in that marriage, at no time could they keep their guardianship after the separation.
Living under a guardianship system that forces women to be subservient to the men in their lives, Qatari women have little access to reproductive health care or basic gynaecological check-ups. In fact, sex outside of marriage is illegal, and in the case of pregnancy outside of marriage, they would be taken to prison immediately.
Homosexuality is a crime
Speaking of rights, another group that has been affected has been the LGTB+ group, since homosexuality is prohibited in Qatar for up to three years in prison. The emirate society is conservative, limited and closed. There are several organizations that denounce the numerous arrests and mistreatment of members of the LGTB+ community, who have even been exposed to conversion therapies that aim to readjust sexual orientation. These therapies are inhumane, but not illegal in Qatar.
With the arrival of the World Cup, the authorities have recommended not to show affection in public. Neither to homosexual couples nor to heterosexual ones, so as not to give the possibility of misunderstandings.
As a result of all these controversies, there are many personalities and singers who have refused to attend the World Cup in Qatar. Singers like Dua Lipa or Chanel have spoken out regarding their attendance, assuring that they would not go to a country where women and the LGTB+ collective have limited rights.
Is their refusal to participate in the World Cup in Qatar, real or false activism? Artists like Shakira or even the Queen of Spain, Letizia Ortiz, have waited until the last minute to cancel their attendance. This has made the public think that they have refused to attend so as not to get into the focus of the controversy, and not out of empathy for the real victims of this World Cup.
There are many who consider that a World Cup in which so many basic human rights are violated, in which so many people have died, and which has aroused - and continues to arouse day by day - so much controversy, should not be celebrated.
However, both the organizers and the attendees decide to ignore all kinds of controversy, they want to enjoy a show that has been made with the sweat and blood of many.
For now, the only team that has threatened to withdraw from the World Cup is Denmark, which denounces the ban on wearing a rainbow bracelet that represents nothing more than love and respect, something that seems to be lacking in Qatar these days.
Without a doubt, the only ones who can do something to change the situation are the authorities, both those of Qatar and those in charge of organizing the World Cup event, and if they are not willing to put a stop to it, few will. What the soccer teams of the different countries should do or have done is refuse to attend such a show, even if it means losing millions, since we are talking about human rights and not about tickets.
It is crucial that, as a society, we work to change the old and conservative mindsets that disenfranchise various groups.
The Qatar 2022 World Cup began on November 20 and will end on December 18. At the moment, there has already been controversy when several players or journalists have been seen wearing a bracelet that represents the group, but it is expected that until the last day it will continue to give people talk.