Controversial World Cup in Qatar Draws to an End

Did the many controversies leading up to the tournament overshadow the games?

The 2022 World Cup ended with one of the greatest finals ever played, something that will be forever remembered. However, it will also be remembered for the many controversies that emerged during the lead up to the tournament.

Controversy 1: Bribery

The first controversy began years before the World Cup occurred. Qatar, the host for the 2022 World Cup was announced by the FIFA Executive Committee on December 2nd, 2010. This would be the first time that the World Cup would be held in the Middle East, and the smallest country to host too.

So, people wonder, why was Qatar chosen to host the 2022 World Cup? Fans were doubtful about this choice because this comparably smaller country had never qualified to the World Cup. The New York Times published an article explaining rumors and alleged payments made by Qatar to host the future World Cup. They showed leaked emails and documents that made it seem that former FIFA executive committee member Mohammed bin Hammam paid millions of dollars as bribes to the FIFA officials. This man was previously banned from FIFA in 2011 for corruption charges. There was an investigation started, but no concrete proof that bribes had been involved. Then, in 2020, the U.S. Justice Department released evidence implying that three FIFA officials had accepted bribes convincing them to vote for Qatar to host.

Controversy 2: Worker Abuse

Another controversy is the amount of low-paid migrant laborers used to support their needs for the World Cup. Qatar has been known to have workers be in dangerous conditions, even before the World Cup, but this event has made the situation much worse.

At first, tournament organizers placed the death toll at 40, but later on they discovered the number was really about 400 to 500. Regardless, human rights organizations believe the actual death toll is up in the thousands. Many of these migrant workers would work long hours in the heat, so death because of the heat was very common. Other workers returned home with long lasting illnesses that they got while working to prepare for the World Cup.

Controversy 3: Freedom of Speech and Expression

Qatar is also known to have anti-LGBTQ policies, with punishments for up to three years in prison for identifying as LGBTQ. World Cup organizers said that LGBTQ fans will be safe at the tournament, but many people were still worried.

Similarly, it is known that Qatar has strict rules about freedom of speech. There are punishments for criticizing the government, speaking negatively about Islam, and spreading “false news”. For example, the Qatar government charged seven citizens who criticized their new voting laws because they were spreading “false news”.


People wonder why FIFA doesn’t use their power to make some kind of change. Some think that they don’t take action because they know after four years people will forget about what went on.

So, the question is, did the controversies overshadow the games? One side of the argument says yes, considering all the controversies the country has including human rights issues, low pay and dangerous workplaces for migrant workers, and corruption to get the spot of host for the 2022 World Cup. On the other hand, some say no, because at the end of the, day the cup is about the sport, not where it is hosted.