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Should fans watch the World Cup in Qatar?

Many underpaid workers have died building these stadiums.

2022 FIFA World Cup, Al Bayt Stadium Photo by Mohammed Dabbous/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Take a look at the cover photo for this article. It’s extremely likely that over 700 people died building the structure in the background of that photo. Per a report from the Guardian, more than 6500 have died building the nine stadiums to be used for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which would be an average of 722 people per stadium. Most of these dead workers were not Qatari, they were migrants brought in from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka and every week 12 of them died doing work in unsafe conditions for pay that didn’t often arrive while not being allowed to leave.

That’s just the deaths we have data for, we do not know how many people from the Philippines or Kenya died, though many workers came from those nations, and we do not know how many people died in the last few months of building.

The problems with hosting a World Cup in Qatar do not stop there. The process by which this country was selected in the first place was dubious in the extreme and a classic example of FIFA corruption.

Further, Qatar is a place where even the human rights of their own citizens are often non existent. Women who are raped have been convicted of sex outside of marriage, and can do very little without the permission of the men in their lives.

Apostasy from Islam is punishable by death, blasphemy or proselytizing will get you sent to prison. Practicing homosexuality is also punishable by years in prison,

The president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, thinks we should just ignore all of this. He wrote a letter to all participating FAs for the upcoming tournament to avoid ‘politics’, as if these rampant abuses of humanity can be boiled down to being political.

Infantino is thinking that we will all just watch the World Cup no matter what, that it is something we must do, and so putting it in a country like this does not matter. For evidence of this, he has the 2018 World Cup in Russia where there were also concerns, including worker deaths, and many used the same arguments they have used over the last four years saying how hosting a World Cup there brought attention to the problems in the hopes of lasting change.

Since then, Russia unilaterally decided to attack and commit war crimes on Ukraine and arrest thousands of its own citizens for protesting.

If you choose to tune into this World Cup, that’s completely up to you. I am not sure what Jamie has planned for VUSA during that month, but it may well be that the tournament gets covered by our site here, as most international tournaments involving Villarreal players do. I am not going to sit here and say you absolutely should not watch, and I am not going to sit here and act like you’ve committed some evil by watching.

I simply know that I can’t. I cannot get the people who have died and been abused to put on this tournament out of my head enough to sit down and watch football being played, I can’t see the massive stadiums and the screaming fans and forget that there is blood underneath the foundations, I can’t simply sit by and talk about football like FIFA wants me to do. So, for the first time since I started watching football, I’ll be sitting out this World Cup, and I will find some other way to occupy myself during the next month. I’ve put many links with information in this article, and I hope it helps you make your own decision on the matter, one way or another.