For a long time, football has been used as a form of bringing people from different races together. World Cup particularly is used as a way of enhancing peace and harmony in the world. Supporters of different teams are encouraged to celebrate their victories without causing havoc. Therefore, tolerance is the most important virtue that every person in the football fraternity is supposed to exercise.
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World Cup was initiated to enhance peace and humanity among people from all over the world. Fair treatment of every human being should be the guiding force. It is expected, therefore, that football fans will treat each person without discrimination.
However, since Qatar has won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup competition and started the preparation, reports of inhumane treatment of foreign workers emerged. It is excruciating to note that inhumane methods can be used in handling people who are working for an event that is supposed to enhance brotherhood among citizens of the world.
It is important to note that Qatar has a very low population and the amount of work that is supposed to be completed before the tournament can be held is massive. Consequently, Qatar has imported a lot of people, most of them from Nepal and India, to assist with the work (Ramady, 2013).
From their mother countries, people are enticed by the promise of good pay as well as the availability of the job. Notably, the immigrant workers come from poor countries where getting a job is almost impossible and this sounds like the only way out. As a result, they go extra miles to pay the agency fees to get their way to Qatar.
Unfortunately, once they land in Qatar, they are met with a different scenario of the things offered previously. To begin with, the exit system in Qatar does not allow foreign employees to leave without permission from their employers.
This exposes foreign employees to abuses by their employers, who know that they determine when their employees can leave. It should be noted that there have been complaining by various states regarding the way their people are treated in the Middle East. Consequently, workers at sites related to the 2022 World Cup are victims of forced labor (Montage, 2013).
According to a report published by Amnesty International, World Cup workers are leaving in filthy conditions with up to 12 men sharing a room. On the same note, workers live in places with open sewage and very pathetic sanitary conditions. Naturally, people from the Middle East like regarding themselves as supreme and despise others, especially Non-Muslims.
The way locals are treated is not the same as the treatment of foreigners (Huffington Post, 2014). Qatar has a rule that people should not work between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. during summers because temperatures are very high (Pattisson, 2013). In many sectors, this only applies to the local people. Qatar may not be treating World Cup workers differently from the way they treat all other workers.
Many workers have accrued a huge amount of debts, mostly at eating joints. There are workers who are so indebted that every penny they earn goes to service their loans. This shows that workers are not well paid as expected, especially from the contracts they sign. Some workers have complained that their pay is unnecessarily withheld while some illegal fines are usually imposed (Montage, 2013).
Many workers have also complained that they can go for several months without being paid. This makes it rather difficult for them to cater to their expenses. Affording decent food and clothing becomes impossible (Ramady, 2013).
Complaints have also been placed regarding the fact that employees usually work with an empty stomach the whole day and go without food the entire night. These cases are rampant in the Middle East and nothing can be further from the truth.
Sometimes foreign workers are not even allowed to use the free drinking water that is given to their native counterparts. They are also forced to work under dangerous conditions. Notably, many people have died due to conditions like dehydration, malnutrition, and heat exhaustion among others (Huffington Post, 2014).
Why could healthy people die at work if not due to mistreatment? Various human rights organizations have advocated for change in employee treatment but less has been done for now. The situation still remains inhumane and the kafala sponsorship system makes matters worse.
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For the tournament in Qatar to send the peace and unity message that World Cup has been initially designed for, treatment of workers at various sites must be improved. World Cup was designed to enhance harmony among people all over the world and this should not only happen during the tournament. Everything to do with the World Cup must send the message of peace.
Over and above that, the days when people used to treat foreigners as if they were subhuman are gone. Modern-day slavery, which is real in Qatar, should be condemned in the most possible strongest terms. Consequently, the World Football Body together with the Committee in charge of World Cup preparations in Qatar should act fast and stop the abhorring acts on workers.
Huffington Post. (2014, April 4). World Cup 2022: MP Jim Murphy Urges FIFA To Put Pressure On Qatar Over Labor Working Conditions. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/04/06/jim-murphy-urges-fifa-to-put-pressure-on-qatar-over-working-conditions_n_5100527.html
Montage, J. (2013, November 27). Qatar Lets Soccer Player Leave after Two Years.The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/28/sports/soccer/after-2-year-dispute-soccers-belounis-can-leave-qatar.html
Pattisson, P. (2013,September25). Qatar’s World Cup Slaves. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/25/revealed-qatars-world-cup-slaves
Ramady, M. A. (2013). Political, Economic and Financial Country Risk: Analysis of the Gulf Cooperation council. New York: Springer Science & Business.