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The ins and outs of the anti-Qatar campaign

Qatar was awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament in 2010. It became the first Arab and Muslim country to be allowed to host such a major international tournament. Since then has faced opposition from Western countries, Arab neighbours, non-governmental organizations and even some football teams. The campaign against Qatar has been aggressive and has focused on allegations of corruption and human rights violations in Qatar.

Now, renewed allegations of bribery during the bidding process for hosting the World Cup tournament have been brought to light even though the US attorney’s year-long investigation concluded that there weren’t any wrongdoings. 

The official FIFA own investigation into the matter concluded years ago. A full report on investigations surrounding corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cups bidding process asserted that voting had been entirely fair, and there was no evidence of committees taking bribes to secure rights. Despite that, a feverish media campaign finger-pointing Qatar for allegedly bribing FIFA officials to ensure the hosting rights continued.

While some Arabs and Muslims have thrown their support behind Qatar, others have been involved in anti-Qatar campaigns, with Qatar’s mistreatment of migrant workers as the central theme.

In 2013, a prestigious UK media newsletter reported on an investigation into Qatar’s construction of stadiums for the World Cup. The newspaper found claims of exploitation as well as other rights abuses.

But, it is essential to highlight that all those investigative efforts gracefully chose not to consider Qatar’s demographic realities. Only 10% of the citizens are of Qatari origin, the majority of the population being from India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Qatar also relies heavily on migrant workers, who comprise around 95% of the country’s total labour force. The same is true for other Gulf States in the area as well.

Migrant workers have built airports, stadiums, hotels, resorts, high-rise apartment buildings, and roads that make all Gulf countries attractive to foreign tourists and tourism in the area is booming.

As other Arab countries conveniently ignored their own shortcomings in human rights to join in the criticisms of Qatar is good to note that none of the Gulf States is innocent, and none of them is perfect.

Qatar did improve migrant worker rights after recommendations from human rights groups. It has made significant reforms to give workers more rights, such as granting freedom of movement and better job mobility. UN applauded the measures taken by the tournament organizing committee.

But despite this evidence, critics weren’t persuaded to back down and continued to brand Qatar as a serial human rights violator.

Although it might appear as a pre-planned and orchestrated effort to discredit Qatar, in reality, the campaign against Qatar is mainly due to racism; Qatar being the first Arab and Muslim country to be allowed to host such a major international tournament does bother some Western chancelleries and, believe it or not, even some of its Arab neighbours. 

Read more on: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20221115-why-has-qatar-faced-a-campaign-against-its-hosting-of-the-fifa-world-cup/

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