The mecca of world football, the World Cup, is a magical celebration of the game. It takes place every four years, and it has been hosted in countries all over the globe. The team with the most wins is the formidable Brazilian team; they have lifted the Jules Rimet trophy five times. This year, they’re the favorites with most bookmakers, with France in a close second place. You can find a comprehensive list of world cup betting markets online.
When it comes to controversies involving the World Cup, there’s a multitude of stories that have happened both on and off the pitch. Whether it was Diego Maradona’s hand of God goal against England in 1986, Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt on Marco Materazzi in the 2006 final or Geoff Hurst’s goal that may or may not have crossed the line in the 1966 final when England beat West Germany.
More recently, there’s been a serious number of issues that have stemmed from off-the-field issues. Most notably, this year’s World Cup has led to a number of controversies regarding the host nation. Many of these have already been discussed online and on the news, but with the World Cup growing closer, these issues will have more light on them.
Human rights violations
This has been an issue focused on for several years. Since the announcement that Qatar would host the tournament, many footballers have spoken out. Ex-German international Philipp Lahm has spoken out about the violations that have taken place since the tournament was awarded to Qatar.
Over 6,000 migrant workers have died in Qatar, and that number is believed to be even higher as not all the available statistics have been collated. This information was compiled by Indian and Bangladeshi authorities. However, statistics for the number of African migrants who have died isn’t readily available. This is, of course, absolutely horrendous and has rightly caused huge controversy among fans, players and journalists alike.
This issue could rear its head as we get closer to the first games of the tournament. As the eyes of the world become fixed on Qatar in November, these issues will not go away. They will be amplified and lead to many difficult questions for authorities in the country.
Before the 2010 World Cup, FIFA began to select a shortlist of potential countries to host the World Cups in 2018 and 2022. There were no UEFA nations looking to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, so FIFA compiled the final shortlist of:
- South Korea
- United States
Major corruption claims were levelled at FIFA when Qatar won the bid fairly easily. Compared to the other countries shortlisted, Qatar appeared to be ranked outside based on the strength of the bids.
However, a whistleblower accused African footballing officials of taking over $1m in bribes in return for a vote for Qatar to host the competition. In 2014, some other bribery claims were alleged, despite officials initially denying it.
In 2014, Jack Warner, FIFA’s vice-president in 2010, received a $2m dividend from a company linked to Qatar’s attempt to host the 2022 competition. This issue could crop up again as the world’s focus turns to Qatar in November.
Qatari credentials to host the tournament coming into question
As we touched on earlier in the article, Qatar found itself shortlisted with a number of countries that have either played in or hosted the World Cup before. Their inclusion in the shortlist raised a few eyebrows, so the fact they won the bid was met with confusion across the footballing world. Not only is the Qatar team considered a minnow in international football, but they also have never qualified for the tournament in its 92-year history.
For some, this adds a sense of uncertainty and makes the build-up feel anti-climactic. When you also consider the fact that the games will be taking place in one of the hottest regions on Earth, that creates a new set of challenges. For this reason, the tournament is not in the traditional summer months and will be in November.
This decision has wreaked havoc on the footballing calendar, especially in Europe, where many of the top league’s games have been condensed to accommodate a November World Cup.
This can lead to fatigue, players not performing at their highest level and a higher risk of injury due to the huge number of games taking place in such a short period.
Founder and editor of Footiecentral. A voracious reader who loves reading anything and everything related to the history of football. He’s an ardent supporter of Manchester United and rarely misses a match.