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Posted On: 23 June 2014 09:18 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 01:51 pm

Think the World Cup in Qatar will be a problem? Read this!

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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Qatar, Doha City Skyline

This is something that really blows my mind. When I read articles about Qatar and why the country should lose the World Cup, I'm shocked at the amount of utter rubbish written. It looks like journalists no longer find it necessary to back up their statements with facts or write with a bit of integrity. Let me also say that I am not a professional journalist, and I'm just a blogger sharing his opinions. I also don't have any priveleged information, what I know is what's been shared with the public.

What I read is a lot of hate based on stereotypes. The number of times I've read that we shouldn't have the World Cup because we're Arabs, Muslims, or Terrorists, is a sad reminder of the incredibly racist world we live in. Respond to one issue, and the topic is instantly changed. I for one can tell you that Qatar is NOT perfect. We've got loads of things that we need to work on, but you tell me ONE country that's perfect. The country is quite young and we've seen some incredible developments in the past 15 years. I guess that when people see the lights, skyscrapers, fancy restaurants, and beautiful projects, they forget that Qatar is a developing nation.

The US and UK have had hundreds of years to try and sort themselves out (spoiler alert, they still have issues), but the point is, they've had the opportunity to rectify problems such as sexism (which still exists), racism (which still exists), and elitism (which still exists).

You know what word you read most often in articles related to Qatar and the World Cup in papers such as the Sunday Times and The Guardian? Alleged. Let me define that for you, "(of an incident or a person) said, without proof, to have taken place". The key part in that definition is 'without proof'.

Let me give it a go. Someone, somewhere, who prefers to remain anonymous, has claimed that The Wednesday Guardian allegedly funds hate crimes. Does that make it true? No. During the time that the allegations are being investigated, and proven that they weren't true though, guess what's happened? The damage has been done. The idea has been planted. Is this in any way fair? Why is it that we always hear that every person is innocent until proven guilty, yet the roles have been reversed with Qatar? To many (not all), we were guilty until proven innocent.

I then read sensational articles which, to me, throws responsible journalism out of the window.
The Independent says "Qatar 2022: Fifa investigation into World Cup vote 'ignoring the new evidence', critics claim".

Wait, what? According to Associated Press, Garcia told FIFA's congress of 209 member countries that "The vast majority of that material has been available to us for some time." So what I understand is that the 'evidence' is already in play, not being ignored.

I also read articles claiming that hundreds of workers could die with the construction projects related to the world cup. In fact, people commented on this before a single stadium or World Cup project started. It’s great to know that there are so many Nostradamus type people out there, but how do you know? In the US 4,628 people were killed on the job in 2012, 806 of them were in construction and a majority (around 35%) of the deaths were due to falls. In 2012, 35 deaths were due to falls in Qatar. Either way, I would hope that Qatar is doing everything in its power to ensure that injuries and casualties are kept to a minimum no matter where you're from. One organization in Qatar that works towards training workers to stay safe is the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHO). I didn’t need to do much research but online I found that Lusail City (a huge new project) has it’s General Requirements for Construction Health and Safety, publicly published here. It mentions that OHSAS 18001 is a minimum for health and safety requirement management.

Workers rights is something that’s incredibly important. There are locals and expats who live here and want to see change. The state has been working on changing legislation, building special task forces to investigate rights abuses, and is working on ensuring people know what their rights are in the first place.

Here are some government enforced rules to make sure that laborers are protected.

1- Taking someone’s passport is ILLEGAL. If someone takes your passport, you can report them to the government and the organization will be fined.

2- Workers may NOT work during certain hours when the sun is at peak or above a certain temperature

3- All work sites need to ensure that workers have access to water, safety equipment and that they follow Health and Safety Regulations

4- All employees must be paid on time. Employees can report when they have not been paid.

5- Laborers who work under the sun during summer should not exceed 5 hours in the morning shift and never beyond 11:30am. More info here

Don’t forget that Qatar cooperated with Amnesty International where in other countries in the region, they weren’t even allowed into the country. The way I see it, Qatar’s saying, help us identify the issues so we can fix them.


I thought that I'd take the time to respond to some of the comments I read online.

Qatar's so small!

So what? I didn't realize that having to travel a 1000 miles between stadiums was part of enjoying the match.

If size matters, then perhaps FIFA should add the geographic land size into their list of requirements. Oh but they can't, because Qatar is part of the World and it’s called the WORLD Cup.

It’s hot!

How many countries in the world have a similar climate to Qatar? So is it fine to exclude all of them too? There are loads of people who actually live in this country already (2.2m in fact). I agree, it does indeed get hot. However most people aren’t hanging out during the mid day sun they’re indoors; or actually yesterday many were at the beaches when I went to Fuwairit (I recommend checking it out, that's where the turtles lay their eggs too by the way).

Having said that, there are some awesome things happening here to make things more comfortable. Go to our traditional Souq Wagif and water mist is sprayed to keep you cool, the new Msheireb - Heart of Doha project is built in a way to block the sun and has automatic shades so people can enjoy walking around and shopping outside, oh and the stadiums will have state of the art cooling technologies (some of which are already implemented since 2008). To take things a step further, the country’s also going to share the technology with other countries that need it.

Is it possible? Yes it is possible. Not only do stadiums in Qatar already have cooling, but I remember watching a video on YouTube about Stadiums in Texas that have cooling too. Go check it out.

Oh but I'll have respect the country's laws!

We all have to respect the laws of any country that we're in right...?

Qatar has a campaign to force people to cover up!

Wrong! A group of people in Qatar, put together a cause, to request people to dress modestly when it public. It's not a campaign by the government or the state. It's a group of Qataris, in Qatar, asking that people who visit Qatar, dress modestly. Nothing more. Do you have the right to ignore their request? You could. I for one like to respect the people in the country I'm visiting. You're not planning to dress like Borat in his *cough* outfit right?

It’s a dry country, I want to drink!

You can drink! Qatar isn’t a dry country. Qatar does have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drink driving though. You can go to QDC and go buy a crate of beers if you want. You can go to a club or a hotel and enjoy your time. The only thing you can’t do is drink out on the streets. Having said that 1) There are special fan zones that will be much more lax with the rules and 2) are you here for the football or not?

What are you going to do with all the stadiums? It’s a waste anyway.

Qatar’s said that stadiums will be dismantled and then rebuilt in other countries; in Africa for example. I think that’s pretty cool don’t you?

Qatar won’t let Israel be a part of the World Cup

The government has already stated that Israel would participate. In fact, Israeli athletes had competed previous in Qatar during the Tennish championships and the 2010 Indoor Championships.

But women have no rights in Qatar

Well I can’t speak for the whole of the Middle East, but here in Qatar, women absolutely have rights. A majority of Qataris who graduate from university are female. We have amazing female leaders such as Her Highness Sheikha Moza, Dr. Hessa Al Jaber the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, Buthaina Al Ansari a leading business woman, Aisha al Mudhaihka the CEO of Injaz, an organization to encourage entrepreneurship and personal growth, and the list goes on.

But you guys have a population of only 2.2m

So what? Why can’t Qatar host the World Cup if we’ve only got 2.2m (as of today)? I don’t understand.

It’s not fair, Qatar’s rich, so they could campaign more.

Why is it not fair that the country can afford to campaign? Not many people knew about Qatar until we were bidding for the World Cup, it meant that we needed to share what our vision is, what we’re all about. The goal here is simple, to unite people under the banner of football. Why is it a bad thing that Qatar has more money? Doesn’t it mean that more will be spent on making sure that the event is amazing? Doesn’t it give confidence that Qatar can actually afford to turn all the promises made into reality?

Qatar lied, they said it would be done during summer, now they want to move it to winter.

No, Qatar didn’t ask for it to be moved to winter. Qatar said that IF FIFA wanted to move the World Cup date, they wouldn’t be against it.

Look let’s get this straight. Yes Qatar has issues. Yes they’re being worked on. Yes the people want Qatar to be a country the World can be proud of.

We read about some people demanding for a revote, but if the problem is that we have issues to resolve, then shouldn’t the demand be that we sort things out instead? Let’s all wait for the investigation report to be announced (with the evidence of course) and until then, rather than slam Qatar, help Qatar become a better place for everyone.

All Qatar is asking for, is an opportunity to host an amazing World Cup event. All I'm saying is, give us a chance.