Despite its claims, Qatar’s World Cup debut was a disappointment, with a 2-0 defeat to Ecuador. The organisers hoped it would prove a success, but it ended up being the first time a host country has failed to score on the opening day of the tournament. Thousands of home fans left the stadium in the second half, leaving only the Ecuador fans behind to watch the final score.
The opening ceremony was a spectacle, but the game itself lacked the same wow factor. The organisers boasted of several technological advances, including a “Rawdat Al Jahniya fan village” and “rainbow flags” at stadiums, but it was the video game inspired ‘funfair’ that was most noteworthy.
The media has been busy with its usual suspects, with the Gulf Times reporting a negative reaction to the game. The Qatar Tribune lauded the opening ceremony, while highlighting the poor performance of the national team. The Blue and Whites, despite being in the middle of a group of eight teams, finished third.
The country did make some progress in recent years, but still faces serious challenges. Qatar’s labour reforms promised to end abusive working conditions, but have been criticized for a number of shortcomings, including the kafala sponsorship system, which meant that workers could not switch jobs without the employer’s consent.
Moreover, a number of workers have accused the government and Fifa of mishandling the labour force, causing a number of scandals. Some hotels recruited workers through online adverts, but others merely handed over passports, and only paid staff a small bonus for doing so.
One thing that stood out was the use of Ehteraz, a contact tracking scheme. The app reportedly makes unprompted calls, and also tracks users’ pictures and other contact information. The site has a contact-tracking app for Covid-19, a game that allows users to make remote calls to other users.
While the World Cup has its problems, the country is only beginning to feel its effects. The migrant workers who work on infrastructure projects for the country have complained of low wages and poor working conditions. Some have even complained of being treated like slaves, with a number of workers claiming they were not allowed to leave their jobs without the employer’s permission.
There is still much controversy surrounding the World Cup. Qatar has faced accusations that it was behind state-sponsored terrorism, and that it was an ideal location for a terrorist attack. In addition, a number of Asian and African countries have joined the boycott. There has also been some criticism of Qatar’s human rights record. It has been estimated that over 6500 people have died while building infrastructure for the tournament. There is also some debate over how safe it will be for LGBT fans to enjoy the festivities.
It’s no secret that the 2022 World Cup is going to be a big deal. The event is set to attract over 1.2 million fans. But with a slew of controversy, it will be difficult for the organisers to maintain a positive image. Hopefully, the World Cup will be able to divert attention from other issues.