I spent a significant part of my childhood in Brazil, a country that lives and breathes football, and it is here that I first appreciated the beauty of the game, as well as the bitterness of its dark side.
Because so much money is involved in football, corruption is pervasive in all aspects of the sport.
The World Cup, the biggest and most popular sporting event in the world, was held in Qatar because of bribery. This is a country that has neither the love of the game nor the infrastructure for such an event, but it has buckets of oil cash. Tom Blue Irish mirror The New York Times article “Absolute Disgrace – Jimmy Carragher Lets It Rip…” and Tariq Panja and Kevin Draper “US Says FIFA Officials Bribed to Award World Cups to Russia, Qatar” New York Times article.
The World Cup is the biggest event in football and has been held every four years since 1930. The cup brings together people from all over the world in one host country, where football and different cultures are celebrated. Unfortunately, this time we saw the World Cup being held in Qatar, a country that has never been known for its football. Its population and size is smaller than many states in the United States, so most of the world knew something strange was going on when Qatar was chosen to host the 2010 World Cup. . Now we know for a fact that the officials who voted for Qatar were bribed.
In The New York Times, Tariq Panja and Kevin Draper explain how the US Department of Justice got involved in Qatar’s FIFA corruption case. In their article, they show a copy of an official US Department of Justice document that says: “US prosecutors on Monday publicly released details of payments to five members of FIFA’s supreme committee ahead of the 2010 vote to elect Russia. And they revealed Qatar as the host.
Most of these officials have now been removed from office, but it is too late.
Qatar is really small and didn’t have the infrastructure for the amount of tourism that the World Cup attracts, making it the most expensive World Cup at 220 billion. It cost more than the total of the last ten World Cups!
Many of the stadiums used in the World Cup had to be built from scratch by migrant workers who were desperate for work. These workers endured the most appalling working conditions, as Tom Blue noted: “At least 6,500 migrant workers are believed to have died since Qatar began building infrastructure for the matches, although the organization The issuers have denied this.”
Are we shocked that migrant workers are exposed to this in a country with serious human rights issues? Imagine the worker’s loved ones back home not knowing if they are alive or not because they don’t even have the decency to confirm the worker’s death. I am an immigrant, so I am somewhat aware of how badly these countries treat us. But the treatment of these migrant workers in Qatar was inhumane. The sad thing is that now that these stadiums have been used for a few World Cup matches, most of them are being demolished because the maintenance costs are too high. All these lost lives for what? How many games?
This World Cup had bad effects on athletes. Because Qatar is mostly a desert, they had to move the World Cup to winter because the average temperature during the summer in Qatar is 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The World Cup is usually held in June and July, which is the best. It’s time for the players as the regular football season ends in May, giving them time to rest and recover from injuries.
With this World Cup being held in the winter and in the middle of a football season, it made the season crowded and games were played almost every three days to make up for the games lost during the Qatar World Cup. From experience, playing every three days is a nightmare: your body doesn’t have enough time to rest and heal, which leads to injuries. Tom Blue wrote in his Irish Mirror article: “It’s getting to the point where it’s now mid-season and players who spend their whole lives dreaming of playing at the World Cup won’t be playing.”
Americans may not realize how ingrained football is in some people’s lives. But I remember when I was a kid, Ivory Coast appeared in the 2010 World Cup for the first time. At the time, the country was embroiled in a deep civil war, but the national team players urged the country to stop the war and come together as one. One, at least until the World Cup is over. And would you believe that the civil war stopped until the end of the World Cup.
So it’s really sad when players grow up with dreams and work hard every day until they become professionals, only to have their dreams cut short by a minor injury. The World Cup is supposed to represent the pinnacle of a nation’s footballing power, but how does that happen when so many stars are left at home cheering on their side instead of supporting them? The players only had a week off after the World Cup before club football resumed. It’s just a week off after a grueling tournament. People sometimes forget that athletes are still human and not machines that can play every week of the year.
All in all, this World Cup was truly one of the most exciting and memorable tournaments in recent memory, with unexpected results and inspiring performances from the underdogs and the strong. It was a joy to watch Morocco make history as the first African nation to reach the semi-finals, and to see South Korea and Japan put in legendary performances that captured the hearts of fans around the world. I even saw my hero and idol really carry his country on his back as Argentina crowned France winners in one of the tightest finals ever.
In the end, football won. But the greed and corruption of FIFA officials and the questionable decision to host this event in Qatar cannot be ignored. While some may argue that “politics doesn’t belong in football” or “it was important to bring the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time”, the fact remains that the appalling treatment of migrant workers in Qatar and its impact on The case of players who had to compete in the middle of their club seasons cannot be justified.
The World Cup should be a celebration of the beautiful game and a way to exchange culture, a way to bring people together, not a platform for corruption and greed. The World Cup should be held in a country that respects the welfare and fitness of the players, properly celebrates and appreciates the rich history and culture of football, but can also manage the influx of tourists. Australia, Argentina and Morocco are all worthy contenders to host this magnificent event and continue to showcase the finesse and diversity of football on a global scale.
With the United States co-hosting the 2026 World Cup, I hope we can make the most of it, as soccer is slowly but surely growing in our country.
Louise Macedo attends Norwalk Community College.