The U.S. should not have gone to the World Cup

The World Cup is a massive, international event with tourists coming from all over the world to watch the matches, hoping that their country’s team will take home the title of World Champion. As the cup approached, a highly contested debate stirred over whether the U.S. should participate in the tournament because of the various actions and policies of the hosting country, Qatar. The answer to this question? No, the U.S. should not have gone to the World Cup.

One major reason that the U.S. should not have gone to the Cup is the massive amounts of human rights abuses that have been committed by Qatar, mainly from the building of seven massive stadiums needed to hold the large number of spectators that came to watch the game. Qatar hired thousands of migrant workers from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Due to the dangerous working conditions, long hours, and horrible living situations, many of these workers died. Out of the 30,000 workers hired to build the stadiums, 6,500 of them died. The Guardian estimates that about twelve workers died a week in the years leading up to the World Cup.

In addition to the death of these thousands of workers, the government of Qatar made same-sex marriage illegal, with violations resulting in up to seven years in prison. According to The Times of Israel, the team captains of seven European countries, including England, Wales, and the Netherlands, said they would wear special armbands in support of the LGBTQ+ community in Qatar during the games. After the announcement, the captains were told that they would immediately be given a yellow card at the beginning of the game if they did not remove them. Two yellow cards mean a player is thrown out of the current game and is unable to play in the next. It is extremely important for the captains to be on the field during play, so to ensure they could play, the players regretfully removed their armbands.

Finally, the officials of the Qatar government actively restrict freedom of speech and the press. According to VPNoverview, “any publication that can be considered a threat to national security or morality is banned” by the state. Anything that criticizes the government or the Emir, the leader of Qatar, is banned. In addition, anything involving the LGBTQ+ community is banned. Anything in support of these groups is banned; the people of Qatar are not allowed to say what they want to say. An amendment to the Penal Code in Qatar in 2020 further restricted rights to freedom of speech. Under the new law, anyone who talks about banned topics would be sentenced to up to five years in prison and a fine of over 100,000 riyals (the currency of Qatar). This is equal to over $25,000 in U.S. dollars.

Some claim that it would not have done much good for the U.S. to not compete. The tournament still would have gone on, and the only difference would be the U.S. would not have gotten the opportunity to compete. However, it still would have made a major difference.

The World Cup is extremely beneficial to Qatar because of how much money it generates for the hosting country. People tuned in all over the world, and hundreds of thousands of fans traveled to Qatar to see the games. The money that these tourists spend during their stay will be very beneficial to Qatar’s economy and the government. Since the U.S. team went to the World Cup, many American citizens traveled to Qatar to see them play. The money that they spend is going to help Qatar. It is going to fund a government that does not give its citizens the right to freedom of speech, makes it illegal to identify as LGBTQ+, and is responsible for the deaths of thousands of its workers. This is not okay.

The U.S. should have never supported a government that takes away so many rights from its citizens. Every single one of the restrictions and actions listed above goes against American morals and ideals. It is overall a disgrace for the U.S. to support Qatar. Therefore, the U.S. should not have participated in the World Cup.