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Tensions about Qatar World Cup Football, Covid 19 and Human Rights

FIFA World Cup Football 2022 and the global discussion about Qualification, Covid 19, and Human rights

The 2022 FIFA World Cup (Arabic: 2022 كأس العالم لكرة القدم, Kaʾs al-ʿālam li-kurat al-qadam 2022) is scheduled to be the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup. There are two challenges FIFA World Cup football fans are discussing these days.

  1. Qualification process and if their country will play
  2. Covid 19 and its consequences on Football World Cup
  3. Human rights

Introduction

It is the quadrennial international men’s soccer championship contested by the national teams of the member institutions of FIFA. It’s scheduled to take place in Qatar from 21 November to 18 December 2022. It will be the first World Cup ever to be held in the Arab world and the first in a Muslim-majority country. That will be the next World Cup held entirely in Asia after the 2002 championship in South Korea and Japan. In addition, the championship will be the last to involve 32 teams, with an increase to 48 teams scheduled for the 2026 tournament in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The reigning World Cup winners are France. It is to be performed in a reduced timeframe of around 28 days.

Accusations of corruption have been made relating to how Qatar won the right to host the event. On 6 August 2018, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter claimed Qatar had used”black ops,” suggesting that the bidding committee had cheated to win the hosting rights.

Moreover, Qatar has faced strong criticism due to the treatment of foreign workers involved in preparation for the World Cup, with Amnesty International referring to “forced labor” and stating that hundreds or even thousands of migrant workers have died as a consequence of human rights abuses, and careless and inhumane work conditions, despite worker welfare criteria being drafted in 2014.

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification process

All FIFA member institutions, of which there are now 211, are entitled to enter qualification. Qatar, as hosts, qualified automatically for the championship. However, Qatar is obliged by the AFC to participate in the Asian qualifying stage as the first two rounds additionally act as qualification for its 2023 AFC Asian Cup. Should they finish as winners or runners-up in their group, the fifth-best group runners-up will progress instead. For the very first time following the initial two tournaments of 1930 and 1934, the World Cup will be hosted by a nation whose national team has never played a finals match before. The reigning World Cup champions France also take part in qualifying as ordinary. Saint Lucia initially entered eligibility in the CONCACAF zone but later withdrew from the competition. North Korea withdrew from the qualifying round due to fears related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FIFA Executive Committee discussed the feasibility of slots for each confederation on 30 May 2015 in Zürich after the FIFA Congress. The committee determined that the same allocation used in 2006, 2010, and 2014 would be retained for the 2018 and 2022 championships:

AFC (Asia): 5 or 4

CAF (Africa): 5

CONCACAF (North, Central America, and the Caribbean): 3 or 4

CONMEBOL (South America): 4 or 5

OFC (Oceania): 0 or 1

UEFA (Europe): 13

Hosts: 1

Summary of eligibility

If Russia qualifies for the final tournament, its players will not be capable of using the country name alone, flag or anthem as a consequence of the country’s two-year prohibition out of world championships and Olympic Games in most sports after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigated the country’s state-sanctioned tampering of a doping testing lab database. WADA had initially proposed a four-year ban on 9 December 2019, after RUSADA was found non-compliant for handing overexploited lab data to investigators. CAS dominated the appeal on 17 December 2020, cutting the ban from four to two years until 16 December 2022.

FIFA World Cup 2022 Covid 19 restrictions

The Gulf nation faces a resurgence of virus cases and deaths despite progress in its mass vaccination program, forcing authorities to impose a nationwide lockdown.

“We have been negotiating and talking to the vaccination providers on how we can be certain everyone attending the World Cup is vaccinated,” Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said.

“Right now, there are apps under development to give vaccination to each of the attendees of this World Cup,” he added during the Raisina Dialogue, a digital event hosted by the Observer Research Foundation.

“We shall be able, hopefully, to host a COVID-free occasion. We also expect that worldwide the pandemic will start to return and vanish.”

Globally no one vaccine certificate system has yet been accepted or recognized. However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass has gained fame among Gulf airlines, including Qatar Airways.

When this article is published, 194,930 Qatar’s 2.75 million individuals have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, with 21,965 currently active instances — nearly 1 percent of the populace.

One in five of the 367 deaths Qatar has endured since the start of the pandemic has been reported this month, with officials blaming the virulent British variant.

Recently Qatar declared the reimposition of rigorous lockdown measures, banning most indoor activities except retail and work to contain the virus.

Qatar has defied soaring coronavirus situation amounts to stage several high profile global sporting events in recent months, serving as a testbed for different restrictions and suffering high-profile infection instances.

The wealthy Gulf state has bucked the trend of more established sporting nations, which have postponed or canceled many leading events instead of hosting soccer, tennis, motorcycling, judo, and beach volleyball since January.

FIFA manager Gianni Infantino has previously said that measures to contain the coronavirus will need to be taken during the 2022 tournament but did not given specifics.

“Maybe some precautionary measures need to be taken,” he told AFP during the FIFA Club World Cup in Doha in February.

In addition to saying unspecified distancing steps may still be in place for next year’s World Cup, Infantino suggested FIFA could”concretely” help traveling fans in nations with patchy vaccine rollouts.

“We will need to see how the situation appears by then. It’s very tricky to foresee today.

“It will take a small bit of time, and we have two years to come back into some normality.” The day before the competition was due to get underway, Qatar declared a tightening of constraints, including reducing spectator ability at stadiums to 20 percent. \But because the Club World Cup had secured approval to point matches with stadiums at 30 percent capacity before the new rules, it was permitted to proceed with bigger audiences. An official source told AFP.

“One hundred percent security never exists, but we can do whatever we can to go very close to this,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino told AFP in Doha during the tournament.

For the first time, he raised the prospect of coronavirus steps being enforced during the 2022 World Cup but insisted stadiums would be complete. The Club World Cup played out as Doha underwent a comparative cold snap with temperatures in the evening, when matches were played, dipping below 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit).

Next year the World Cup will probably be staged in November and December, when conditions will likely be similarly mild.

So far, Qatar has inaugurated three new venues and one refurbished floor with four still to open, most likely later this season. All of them boast state-of-the-artwork air conditioning. It was also revealed ahead of the championship that alcohol would be available at venues — albeit only in VIP hospitality suites pending a determination on general ticket holders’ access to drinks.

There was, however, no repeat of the boozy enthusiast zones, which was popular with fans during the 2019 Club World Cup as all events away from matches were canceled to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Progress on human rights ‘limited.’

While the large contingent of Al-Ahly fans who call Qatar homemade stadiums feel more than 30 percent complete, there was little else in Doha to indicate a major championship was underway.

The limited number of fans attending games also meant key facets of Qatar’s 2022 infrastructure did not face an acid test. The involvement of Bayern, equally in the tournament and in previous training camps in Qatar, drew scrutiny from supporter teams and rights activists. Bayern has a shirt sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways.

In February 2020, Fair Square wrote to Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge urging the club to stand on employees’ rights issues. In an annual report, the team had previously stated that”since Bayern Munich became a partner of Qatar,” there had been”positive improvements in labor and human rights.”

Fair Square maintained that despite some progress, including reform pledges endorsed by the International Labour Organization, “progress has been limited in scope and as yet not powerful in execution.”

Qatari authorities worry that Amnesty International credits Qatar with meaningful labor reforms. They include a new minimum wage due to begin this month and scrapping demands for managerial approval for employees changing businesses. Some migrant workers nevertheless complain of unpaid salaries and being billed illegal recruitment fees.

  

 

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