FIFA head calls Qatar 2022 World Cup a "mistake"
In an unprecedented moment, the head of the Federation International Football Association, or FIFA, has admitted that agreeing to host the World Cup in Qatar was a terrible idea.
In an interview with a Swiss television channel reported on by The Wire, the president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, said, "of course it was a mistake," when he was asked about the decision to allow Qatar to host an event that takes place in the summer of the Northern Hemisphere. After that statement he said, "One makes a lot of mistakes in life."
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The choice to select Qatar as a World Cup host has been controversial on a number of fronts, the climate being one of them. Summers in Qatar are notoriously hot and humid, reaching temperatures of 120 degrees for most of the period of time the tournament is scheduled to occur. Qatar promised to build air-conditioned stadiums and other measures to allay these concerns.
The worries about climate were so pronounced that some even proposed hosting the 2022 World Cup in the winter months, to avoid the heat. This proposal was later abandoned because winter is the season when Europe and most of the world's professional clubs have their regular seasons. It was decided that the cost to leagues and clubs would be too great for such a switch.
Interestingly, the reference to a mistake had nothing to do with the numerous human rights violations trickling out of the camps of workers tasked with building the stadiums and infrastructure of the 2022 World Cup.
Gulf nations like Qatar and Saudi Arabia are notorious for their disrespect of basic human rights. Their treatment of migrant workers brought from places like Nepal and India to pave their roads and build their stadiums are exception. Workers report having their passports taken so they cannot leave the country. After they are essentially imprisoned, they are made to work brutally long days throughout the year, including the aforementioned summers. Besides the long hours and not being able to leave the country, these workers are housed in substandard accommodations and often go hungry.