Nick's Notes

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2022 World Cup

There has been quite the stir ever since the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The host country implemented a last-minute ban on alcohol at World Cup stadiums and has left Budweiser with a large amount of beer on its hands with the company saying they will send the unsold product to the country who wins the tournament. Budweiser is also planning on suing FIFA for a breach of contract, which by the looks of it, is going to be the least of the troubled soccer organizations problems.

The biggest issue with Qatar hosting this tournament was their flagrant abuses of human rights during construction. According to Amnesty International, the migrant workers hired for the project were manipulated and abused in a variety of ways. The workers were faced with expensive recruitment fees, as many migrants who sought work in Qatar were trying to escape poverty and unemployment in countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and India. To get a job they had to pay high fees ranging from US$500 to US$4,300 to recruitment agents in their country.

They also were forced into appalling living conditions, often living in cramped and dirty accommodations. Amnesty International reported seeing men sleeping on bunk beds in rooms for eight or more people even though Qatari law and the Workers' Welfare Standards allow for a maximum of four beds per room and prohibit bed sharing and the use of bunk beds.

There were lies about salary, along with delays in payment as well. One worker was promised a salary of US$300 a month in Nepal, but this turned out to be US$ l 90 once he started work in Qatar. Sometimes, salaries weren't paid for months. The report found that workers were unable to buy food, send money to their family back home or make payments on recruitment-related loans.

The most despicable of the acts were the threats from the hiring companies as they would take passports from the workers and refuse to return them. One company supplying workers for the stadium subjected its employees to forced labour. Workers who refused work due to the conditions they faced were threatened with having their pay deducted. They were also threatened with being handed over to the police for deportation without receiving the pay they are owed.

"The manager said 'these men are causing trouble, they are lazy. Watch them closely. If they do not show up to work or try to escape, report them to the police," said Kamal, a Nepalese metal worker on Khalifa Stadium who spoke with Amnesty.

These obvious abuses, paired with the suppression of LGBTQ+ support from teams playing in the tournament, should have been enough for FIFA to pull out of this disgusting agreement. But money prevails with FIFA folding to Qatar's every demand. Such behaviour should not be tolerated by an organization this large. I am honestly astonished Canada even decided to send a team to compete. Sporting events should not be more important than human rights.