England face Senegal on Sunday evening as part of the first knock out round of the 2022 Football World Cup which is being played in Qatar. In order to get to this stage, they had to overcome quite a tricky group which included Iran, USA and Wales. On Tuesday they beat Wales in a game which saw them reaffirm their place at the top of Group B. This also meant that Wales had to be sent packing as they finished bottom of the group due to the fact that USA beat Iran.
There have been many controversies in the build up to the tournament, a lot of which centre around the treatment of workers during the construction of stadiums for different matches. There was also a lot of social tension as homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and it was felt that many fans wouldn't attend the games as their would be too many restrictions placed on their behaviour if they were homosexual.
There would be a lot of nervousness when people were out in public as they would not be allowed to show public displays of affection toward people of the same gender in public. The question was even asked if two men or two women held hands in public, would they be arrested? The answer to this question was no as they didn't consider holding hands to be a public display of affection. There was also a lack of clear global initiatives have formed a cloud of controversy over the first Middle Eastern World Cup.
Qatar had no prior history in the World Cup before winning the bid to host the tournament. It was felt that it would be too hot during the Summer in a dessert environment so it was decided to switch the tournament to the Winter when it would be cooler. This unfortunately meant that many leagues around the world now needed to take a Winter break to accommodate the tournament.
There were many questions being asked about how a small, middle-eastern country had won the right to host the World Cup. There were allegations of corruption, vote-swapping, and links to trade deals at the highest levels of government. Qatar was cleared of corruption by FIFA, but as recently as 2020, US prosecutors accused three former senior FIFA officials of receiving bribes for voting in favour of Qatar.
There was no wrong doing that was ever proven but this left observers to question the legitimacy of the choice.
Stadium construction began in 2014. There have been three “work related deaths” on actual stadium construction sites since that time, and an additional 37 off-site deaths. Qatar authorities have said the count is in proportion with the size of the given migrant workforce. However, human rights activists claim there are many more unexplained deaths.
Living conditions had been at the heart of many of the complaints and issues raised with a lot of charities who were involved in different sectors being appalled at the conditions in which workers were accommodated. A lot of them stated that the conditions boarded on a form of modern slavery and were unfit.
Adidas, AB InBev, Coca-Cola and McDonalds responded to the issue with statements, expressing support for migrant reforms and compensation for workers in Qatar. However, all have remained as sponsors to the tournament.
All of the controversies have contributed to a broader discussion regarding global change. Some players have even drawn criticism for supporting the event. Former England defender Gary Neville, for instance, has been lambasted for agreeing to commentate at the World Cup for a Qatar-owned TV network. FIFA sparked outrage when they attempted to ease tensions between players (and fans) that may have questions regarding the politics in play when they instructed teams to “focus on football” rather than getting “dragged into every ideological or political battle.”