With one year to go, Qatar is still under fire from critics

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In one year, Qatar will kick off the 2022 World Cup and welcome hundreds of thousands of foreign supporters (November 21 to December 18, 2022). Twelve months before the first meeting, Qatar is still under fire from critics, especially with regard to the situation of immigrant workers.

More than a year before the football world finds itself in Qatar for the last 32-team World Cup. The wealthy emirate obtained the organization on December 2, 2010 in Zurich under the Blatter era and became the first Gulf country to be able to organize the biggest sports competition in the world against the United States, Australia and Japan. Fruit of a lobbying intense, the emirate had used all its diplomatic weight to convince the members of Fifa.

Quickly, accusations of corruption flourished, but never proved. According to France Football, in 2010, Qatar spent 34 million euros in communication costs. French justice is still investigating the conditions for awarding the competition to the emirate. The judicial authorities are wondering about the conditions for the attribution of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with, at the heart of the matter, a lunch at the Elysee Palace around the then president, Nicolas Sarkozy, Michel platini and two senior Qatari leaders.

Qatar obtained the organization of the 2022 World Cup in 2010. FABRICE COFFRINI AFP / File

« A little bit of sport, a lot of money, and massive human rights violations »

Since the award of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, The critics have never stopped. On Tuesday, November 16, Amnesty International called on the host country to respect human rights and stop abuses against immigrant workers, mainly from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, many of whom contributed to the construction stadiums and other infrastructure.

In its latest 48-page report dated November 16, the NGO specifies that “ one year away from the World Cup […] time is running out and Qatar has still not kept its promise to abolish the sponsorship system (kafala) nor strengthened the protection of migrant workers », dont « daily reality remains trying, despite changes to the law since 2017 ».

« The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is a little bit of sport, a lot of money, and massive human rights violations », Wrote on Friday November 19th the president of Amnesty International France Cécile Coudriou in a column in the newspaper The world.

At the start of 2021, the British daily The Guardian had estimated at more than 6,500 the number of migrant workers died in the peninsula since the attribution of the organization of the World Cup. ” Since the start of construction (stadiums) in 2014, there were three fatal work accidents and 35 related deaths “, Affirmed for its part the Qatari authorities.

Qatar do not intend to be sidetracked by criticism during the tournament. The Qatari authorities have regularly claimed to have ” always been transparent about the health and safety of workers ».

Amnesty International calls on Qatar to respect human rights and stop abuses against immigrant workers.

Amnesty International calls on Qatar to respect human rights and stop abuses against immigrant workers. AFP – STRINGER

1.2 million visitors expected

Waiting for, the country is active in its preparation. The holding of the Arab Cup in six stadiums, from November 30 to December 18, will serve as a test for the small emirate. The competition will bring together sixteen teams and according to Fifa: “ The event offers an excellent opportunity for participants and the public to experience the atmosphere in Qatar and the magnificent stadiums that will host the World Cup in 2022 “. Eight brand new enclosures were erected from scratch for this Qatari World Cup.

While the last world rally around sport with the Tokyo Olympics took place behind closed doors, Qatar hopes to attract more than 1.2 million visitors during the next World Cup, or nearly half of the population of this Gulf emirate.

Entertain tourists

And the real challenge will be to entertain hundreds of thousands of tourists in a small country little known for its attractions and its party spirit, where alcohol consumption is tightly controlled. One of the biggest sporting events on the planet is usually punctuated with drunken celebrations.

If the World Cup will take place for the first time in history in a Muslim country, the chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority, Akbar al-Baker, assures that “ there will be as much alcohol as you want », Referring to Fifa on the details of access to drinks. “ We will make live (to visitors) a unique experience “, He promises, without giving details.

France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, several big names in world football already have their tickets. So far, 13 tickets have been awarded. One year from the opening, the organizers hoisted the flags of the countries already qualified on the corniche of Doha.

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