Costs of Qatar: World Cup host creates dilemma for fans

Costs+of+Qatar%3A+World+Cup+host+creates+dilemma+for+fans

Nadav Sternheim


*Editors’ note: The author of this article is currently on the Boys Varsity Soccer Team with Asher Friedman, who is featured below. However, the interview was conducted before the team roster was announced.


Eight long years have passed since the United States Men’s National Team last played in a World Cup soccer game. Since then, many American fans have eagerly waited to watch their country re-enter the sport’s biggest stage during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. But this time, their support will come at a cost.

In 2010, international soccer governing body Federation Internationale de Football Association chose Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, sparking protests from fans, players, teams and TV personalities.

Qatar’s hot summer temperatures resulted in the World Cup being moved to the winter. Many fans were disappointed with the logistical issues that arose from the change, but people were most upset with Qatar’s track record of human rights abuses towards migrant workers — especially those tasked with building the seven brand-new stadiums.


“It’s terrible. The world at large doesn’t care, and God knows FIFA doesn’t care. This is an organization that has been, over the years, profoundly corrupted.”

— John Bungarden, Foreign Policy teacher


Palo Alto High School Foreign Policy teacher and boys freshman-sophomore soccer coach John Bungarden said that FIFA has turned a blind eye to Qatar’s human rights controversies.

“They [Qatar] mistreat guest workers badly,” Bungarden said. “[They are given] a job sometimes under brutal conditions. Sometimes [there are] issues of pay and whether people are treated fairly.”

Over 6,500 workers from various South Asian countries have died in Qatar since it won the World Cup hosting bid, the Guardian reported.

Additionally, British-based human- rights organization Amnesty International has reported on issues such as unpaid wages, unexplained deaths and forced labor for migrant workers in Qatar.


“What’s happened has already happened. People going or not going isn’t going to change that.”

— Otto Kiss Meyerfreund, sophomore


This isn’t the first time a World Cup host country has come under fire, or the first time protests against corruption in FIFA have risen.

“It’s terrible,” Bungarden said. “The world at large doesn’t care, and God knows FIFA doesn’t care. This is an organization that has been, over the years, profoundly corrupted.”

The controversy surrounding FIFA and Qatar has created a dilemma for many fans.

Otto Kiss Meyerfreund, a Brazilian Paly, is a lifelong fan of the Brazil national team and is part of a unique category of fans.

While Kiss Meyerfreund is aware of Qatar’s human rights issues, he said that he is choosing to travel to watch the tournament in-person because it has been a longtime dream of his.

“What’s happened has already happened,” Kiss Meyerfreund said. “People going or not going isn’t going to change that.”

Nevertheless, Kiss Meyerfreund said that he would choose to go to a World Cup in a less controversial host country if possible.

“I would rather go to a World Cup in a country that has some tradition with the sport, and hasn’t had such a big scandal with the World Cup with corruption and people dying, than to have gone to the World Cup in Qatar,” Kiss Meyerfreund said.


“Finding another way to make sure they [FIFA] are held accountable for what they do will be an easy way to fix it. I think they can clean up their act in the near future.”

— Asher Friedman, senior


Senior and varsity soccer player Asher Friedman is working on a research project for his Advanced Authentic Research class investigating corruption in FIFA.

Friedman said that fans prioritize their enjoyment of the sport over underlying ethical considerations, especially during events as significant as the World Cup.

“The reason why the problem isn’t really solved is because as long as people are continuing to give FIFA money by watching the games, … FIFA will continue benefiting,” Friedman said.

Even with the knowledge that watching the World Cup supports FIFA, Friedman will still watch the World Cup.

“I want to support the sport and the players, and I enjoy it [the World Cup],” Friedman said. “It certainly is a dilemma, but it’s not going to stop me from watching it.”

Despite the controversy and corruption surrounding the tournament, Friedman said that there are possible solutions to FIFA’s problems.

“Finding another way to make sure they [FIFA] are held accountable for what they do will be an easy way to fix it,” Friedman said. “I think they can clean up their act in the near future.”

Have you been watching the 2022 FIFA World Cup?