The World Cup is Exciting, Lucrative, and Deadly
The FIFA World Cup, the once-every-four-years most-watched and most lucrative event in sports, is now less than three months away.
Qatar, this year's host, is one of the world's richest countries per capita. But this is a case of the haves and the haves not.
This should come as no surprise to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which owns the World Cup brand. When FIFA granted the World Cup to Qatar in 2010, football leaders knew or should have known about Qatar's exploitative labor system and lack of worker protections. Temperatures there can reach more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, almost 50 degrees Celsius.
"Of course it was a mistake," Sepp Blatter, FIFA's former president, said in 2014, citing a FIFA report he said had "clearly indicated that it was too hot in the summer."
FIFA ultimately moved the World Cup to November 2022 to protect the athletes. But there was no such concern for the more than 2 million migrants working in Qatar at any one time building stadiums, roads, and hotels.
But these reforms didn't address the many worker deaths. Migrant workers continue to return home from Qatar in coffins.
FIFA and Qatar cannot bring migrant workers' families back their loved ones, but the least they can do is set up a compensation fund to support the families of workers who died to make the 2022 World Cup possible.
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