The Controversy in Qatar

3 min read

The Controversy in Qatar 
The decision to hold the FIFA World Cup in Qatar has been met with controversy and backlash due to the country's hot summer temperatures, allegations of bribery and corruption among FIFA officials, and ongoing human rights concerns. In addition, the decision to hold the World Cup in the winter and schedule matches at later times of the day (3 pm and 7 pm UTC) has caused financial difficulties for businesses such as pubs and supermarkets, who have traditionally relied on the summertime "beer garden and football trade" and "BBQ and football parties" for revenue. Despite these challenges, the tournament is now two weeks underway and continues to generate debate and discussion. It is also worth noting that the strict prohibition of alcohol in Qatar may come as a surprise to many football fans who are used to enjoying a pint while watching the game. 

But what about the actual football? 
As of writing this today (06/12/12), the following teams have already been knocked out of the world cup following the first knockout rounds. The list is as follows: Qatar, Ecuador, Iran, Wales, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Cameroon, Serbia, Uruguay, Ghana, Australia, The United States, Senegal, Poland, South Korea, and Japan. The teams through to the quarter-final are: Netherlands, Argentina, France, England, Croatia, Brazil There will be final matches today between Morocco and Spain (15:00pm UTC) and Portugal and Switzerland (19:00pm UTC) to decide the last two. 

So who’s the favorite to win? 
Would it be any surprise to say Brazil tops the list? France is a close second, and Argentina third, England bringing up the rear for 4th. However there have already been some shocking results in this world cup, the most notable being when Saudia Arabia earlier in the tournament beat Argentina itself, if you were to bet for this outcome on our sportsbook or many others you would have pocketed anywhere between 10-40x your bet. This outcome actually has had a lasting impression on the odds across the world cup, forcing bookies and sports books to come up with more conservative estimates out of fear of more shocking results. However of course normality returned, Argentina went on to win its knock-out matches and Saudi Arabia is now out of the tournament. 

Other bits
Many teams and businesses sponsoring the world cup as well as the almighty Morgan Freeman have faced backlashes of criticism for either participating in this world cup or not doing more to highlight issues like the big controversies around LBGT rights which Qatar like many nations have a bad track record on. There is also the dark shadow of the alleged deaths of immigrant workers (potentially in the hundreds to thousands) involved in the construction of the stadium built for the world cup as well as the many skyscrapers and other huge projects Qatar has embarked on during its massive rise in wealth, power and status. However many people will also refer to the fact no country is perfect, many modern nations were built on similar bloody practices and LGBT rights are only in the last decades been afforded in most western nations. Despite the controversy, the World Cup has provided fascinating pre-Christmas viewing for many fans, after all, football is football and many argue it should not be a tool of politics nor is it the first such controversy in the world of sports.