FO° Exclusive: Why Qatar Hosting the FIFA World Cup is Controversial

Since Qatar was selected to host the FIFA World Cup in 2010, it has been dogged by accusations of corruption and exploitation of immigrant labor. Many think the climate and culture are unsuitable to host such a global tournament. In the weeks before and after Qatar opened it's stadiums to football (soccer in the US) fans. 

Western media have amplified these concerns. They think this conservative Muslim society is not welcoming to many vistors. In particular, women and LGBTQ+ visitors have voiced concerns. Qatar has less gender equality than many other countries. LGBTQ+ people point out that the country outlaws any non-heterosexual relations. In response, Qatari officials and international commentators have shot back, accusing the West of hypocrisy. They see Western countries practicing controversial politics themselves. They maintain that it is foolhardy to mix sports and politics. The question is simple: should foreigners, especially Westerners, have the right to judge a host country’s culture and practices? 

Sudden beer bans, censorship of LGBTQ+ activism and condemnations of outspoken commentators did not serve Qatar well. Discussion around the inclusiveness of the country is impossible to avoid, but the condemnation of Qatar is unfair. Fair Observer’s founder Atul Singh and author Glenn Carle as they pick apart the controversial World Cup’s critiques, the nuances of various arguments, and what this tournament means for a globalized world. 

The views expressed in this video are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

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