• Andrew Thurston

    Editor, The Brink Twitter Profile

    Photo of Andrew Thurston, a white man with black glasses. He smiles and wears a maroon polo shirt.

    Andrew Thurston is originally from England, but has grown to appreciate the serial comma and the Red Sox, while keeping his accent (mostly) and love of West Ham United. He joined BU in 2007, and is the editor of the University’s research news site, The Brink; he was formerly director of alumni publications. Before joining BU, he edited consumer and business magazines, including for corporations, nonprofits, and the UK government. His work has won awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the In-House Agency Forum, Folio:, and the British Association of Communicators in Business. Andrew has a bachelor’s degree in English and related literature from the University of York. Profile

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There are 8 comments on Should You Watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup despite Host Qatar’s “Serious Human Rights Problems”?

  1. For those not inclined to click all the links, over 15,000 non-Qataris died between 2015 and 2019 during the early construction phase. Workers were docked two days pay for every sick day taken, mostly due to the effects of working outside in extreme heat.
    Being conflicted isn’t enough. Boycott the games if you believe in human rights.

  2. Great article and review.

    As a massive and long-time fan of soccer/football, the EPL, and WC, I would normally be beyond excited to watch the WC. Due to the controversy, timing, and other aspects, however, it is hard to get in to it.

    It seems – at least from social media and blogs – that the defenders of Qatar hosting the WC are unwilling and unable to criticize Qatar or acknowledge the facts (and scandal) behind the situation. Instead they resort to whataboutism and blind support for Qatar hosting.

    Yes, while “their country their rules” and “you should respect Qatar’s / Qatari culture” holds water, if it does not align with FIFA’s overt culture and statements of diversity, inclusion, equity, equality, etc. then their is a problem. Yes, the US has it’s issues and problems with regards to human rights and equity, but to compare the US GOV or US society to the behavior and culture of Qatar is absurd. If there were last minute broken promises or broken contracts, there is a problem.

    No point restating all the issues and controversy surrounding Qatar. We all know about the human rights violations; mistreatment of worker; prejudice and opposition to women, lgbqt, and others; corruption and financial irregularities on the bid, and lack of suitable accommodations.

    In end, we all know that Qatar should have never received the honor and responsibility of hosting one of the greatest sporting events in world.

  3. The labor controversies surrounding this year’s World Cup in Qatar are no mystery anymore. Tens of thousands of workers have been hired throughout the last decade, and at least 6,500 have died. Qatar has also apparently hired workers to act as fake fans to build atmosphere, working for $10 and three meals a day during the tournament. While there are countless issues surrounding the World Cup, this interview and Selin’s comments made me think about how much worse it is made by the gross mistreatment of laborers.

    He explains that despite the injustices against many groups including laborers, after “the floodlights are shut down” the world will move on as if nothing happened. This is the biggest problem and the biggest failure to the thousands of migrant workers who are underpaid (if paid at all), underrepresented (if a medium even exists), and often work in highly unsafe conditions. The problems surrounding the decision to hold it in Qatar are behind us and we must not let such a corrupt decision happen again. By not taking advantage of the international attention of billions and letting our focus slip away, we are letting these workers down massively.

    The topic of attention turning away is not new. The stadiums used in the 2014 World Cup now sit abandoned as multi-million dollar parking lots, and the 2018 edition in Russia had many of the same issues around human rights and corruption. But this is much worse.

    Thousands of workers travel country-lengths away from their homes and families, hoping to find a better life. When they arrive, they have worked in horrendously hot conditions for very little pay, if that. They have no power of unionization, and many have their critical documents like passports taken by employers which effectively traps them in the job as modern slaves. This is significantly worse than letting stadiums fall out of use, as turning our attention away will allow the continued exploitation of these workers.

    I’m taking a class on domestic labor that has made me think about these workers and why their abuse in Qatar is an issue that is so much larger than typical mistreatment by employers and risks the laborer’s lives. The chance to address these issues and leave the worker’s rights situation better than when the tournament started has nearly been missed. I feel very little has been done to prevent another similar decision, and this atrocity is a level beyond the underappreciated work of house cleaners and grounds crew that we talk about in my class. I appreciate the comments made by Selin in this interview as they push readers to understand that as much celebration as the World Cup brings and as much attention as the actual soccer happening on the pitch should and will attract, it will leave behind horrible conditions if we do not make changes. Allowing it to slide this time will set the stage for future tournaments held in countries with underdeveloped infrastructure that employ workers in these conditions to feverishly catch up.

    More focus must be given to this issue that is only briefly mentioned in the interview, but it is valuable to share nevertheless. Selin reflects that he doesn’t believe there is historically much change before and after a tournament. This is where efforts must be focused. He brings up an important topic, and it is the most critical thing that the international community focuses on afterwards. It is easy to forget about problems in the celebrations of sport and move on as he mentions, but this is incredibly detrimental. We must hope that as more people realize the underlying truths of abuse Selin mentions, the problems will be addressed and such a decision will not happen again.

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