When a lot of people might disagree with something, the situation can be described as being controversial.
The decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is controversial because lots of people say that the country should not be allowed to because of its bad human rights record. For example, Qatar has strict laws against the LGBTQ community, journalists have been jailed for speaking out against the government and, in the build up to the tournament, workers have been treated badly.
Others have said that Qatar isn’t the right host country for the World Cup because it’s also very hot, which means the whole event had to be moved from the summer to the winter, when the temperatures are more manageable.
However, despite calls for FIFA to change its mind about Qatar hosting, the World Cup is going ahead. The governing body argues that Qatar won the chance to host in a FIFA election and that it's good for a new country to host - especially as this is the first Middle Eastern country to host a World Cup ever.
Some people have also said that an event in the country would draw attention to human-rights abuses, and therefore encourage the government to change its ways. In fact, the pressure of the event has already caused Qatar to change some of its labour laws - for example, by bringing in a minimum wage and letting workers switch employers without permission. Critics say these changes are not enough, but without the World Cup, it's unlikely any changes would have been made at this stage.
Over to you!
- What do you think about this controversy? Why?
- Should any country be allowed to host a big sporting event like the World Cup? Why or why not?
- What could people or teams do if they disagree with where an event is hosted?
Challenge question: Qatar is not the first example of a host country being criticised - for example, many people were unhappy that China was chosen to host the Olympics earlier this year. Is this situation with Qatar different to the other times? If so, how?
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