The Human Cost of the FIFA Qatar Scandal is Staggering

Longtime soccer fans have heard rumor’s of FIFA’s unethical practices for years, with allegations going back two decades as Jon Stewart pointed out earlier this week on The Daily Show.

It was only until America was robbed of hosting the World Cup in 2022 that the curtain was finally pulled back and the international governing soccer organization was exposed for a $150 million scandal.

Bribes and money laundering all led to 14 officials being indicted this week and the corruption has put a stain on the sport that won’t soon be forgotten. When it was first announced that the tiny Middle Eastern country of Qatar would host the hugely popular soccer tournament in 2022 many people asked “Huh? Why?”

The weather has been known to reach temperatures upwards of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) in the summer. Those aren’t exactly the ideal conditions for running up and down a field for two hours. Plus, the country hasn’t exactly had the best human rights record. Reports have come in that so far 1,200 workers have died building the soccer stadium needed for the cup and at this rate those casualties will hit 4,000 by the time its done. Ninety percent of the workforce is made up of migrant workers from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh who work under the country’s kafala system. The practice is rigid human resources nightmare where employers maintain great control over their workers, even having possession of their passports and other belongings.

Compared to the construction projects for previous Olympic and World Cup games, the construction foramens have some serious explaining to do. The Washington Posts’ Christopher Ingraham put together this chart showing the visual difference of building Qatar’s World Cup stadium compared to other recent stadiums and it’s not pretty.


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