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Shining a light on World Cup Qatar 2022

Inés Bocanegra Hallin, Sotogrande International School, Spain

When thinking back to the 2022 World Cup hosted in Qatar, some would choose to focus on
the intense penalties, the unfair fouls called by biassed referees and which teams deserved
to be in the finals just as much as Argentina or France. Contrarily, others are more likely to
focus on the sexism, homophobia and lack of human rights Qatar displayed throughout and
after the World Cup. Although one can recognize all the detriment suffered by women,
members of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and other minorities living in Qatar, there
are many ways in which we can shine a light on such a direful event. The joy of sports
doesn’t only come with the enjoyment of watching, cheering and playing, but with all the
recognition it has brought in global events to the ongoing issues in our world. All
fundamental changes in our society today originated from disquieting conditions. Which is
why I am a firm believer that the Qatar World Cup taking place has caused an upswing in the
betterment of our society.

The human cost of the 2022 Qatar World Cup linked directly to the construction of the
stadiums was the lives of 6750 workers since the executive decision of FIFA’S congress in
2010 to allow Qatar to host this tournament. Women’s rights in Qatar are highly restricted by
the country’s male guardianship law. A law stating that women cannot study abroad, drive,
make decisions on behalf of their children or be prescribed medical treatment without the
permission of a male guardian, whether that be their husband or a male relative.
However, the global indignation caused by both these pressing issues was the uttermost
important catalyst for societal change.

Due to the attention brought to Qatar’s labour laws by the worldwide interest in The World
Cup, there has been a significant labour reform over the last three years in which a
non-discriminatory minimum wage was introduced, a workers’ support and insurance fund
was established to ensure a healthy and safe working environment for all, residential
crowding in worker cramps were majorly reduced and restrictions on those wishing to
change employers were lifted.

The Qatar World Cup also gave women and men an opportunity to congregate and enjoy
watching matches together in what has traditionally been a highly segregated country.
Paradoxically enough, for the first time in the history of The World Cup, Qatar welcomed the
first three female referees. Stephanie Frappart, Salima Mukasange and Yoshimi Yamashita.
Two of whom are intersectionality marginalised due to their race. The representation of
women in a male-dominated career is undoubtedly an effective way of bringing us closer to
gender equality.

There is no equitable justification for why anyone should be condoning Qatar’s past and
current laws, but justice has not, and will not come overnight. It is up to us, as a society to
defy aspects we deem as wrong and stand up for what we believe in. The time is now for us
to all play on the same team and work together to score for change.

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