Dhe victory over the USA is almost twelve years ago: on December 2, 2010 Qatar the contract for the soccer World Cup 2022 – and thus surpassed America. Since then, there has not only been a lot of discussion about the dubious circumstances of the award. The emirate also immediately began to buy into the football world: since 2011, the top French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has belonged to an investment vehicle of the emirate.
Belgian club KAS Eupen joined in 2012. The team acts as a so-called “farm team”, where talented people who have not (yet) made it into PSG’s star ensemble can easily switch to. Sometimes some Qatari national players also played there. The club works with the elite academy Aspire from Doha. A stake in the Portuguese club Sporting Braga is still very fresh. Despite all the commitment at club level, even a PSG Champions League victory would not come close to the global importance of a World Cup.
Huge business – above all for FIFA
Qatar now wants to present itself in the best possible light: a demonstration of power and image cultivation at the same time for the small but very rich emirate on the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Criticism is of course inconvenient – especially when it is repeated in large numbers. For years there have been reports of poor working conditions on stadium construction sites, miserable treatment of migrant workers, inadequate protection from the heat and fatalities. Six of the eight opulent arenas, which are air-conditioned even in the Qatari winter, have been rebuilt. A lot has also been invested in the infrastructure. Everything should just shine.
As a result, there is also criticism in terms of sustainability, while the organizers say that some stadiums and the “Stadium 974” at the port of Doha are to be completely dismantled. A lack of sustainability was one of the points of criticism from Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser. The SPD politician, who is also responsible for sport as an official, had a statement to the end of October ARD emphasizes that, in the Federal Government’s view, the allocation of major sporting events must be linked to sustainability principles and “to the observance of human rights”. Last but not least, homosexuality is a punishable offense in Qatar. Faeser also called for “safety guarantees” for people from the LGBT community.
Demonstration of power and image cultivation
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani replied in the FAZ interview that these were not necessary at all: “We have repeatedly repeated from the highest level that everyone is welcome and that nobody will be discriminated against.” A few days later, of course, World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman with the statement, homosexuality was a “mental damage” – done in a ZDF documentary -, again for a scandal. In general, the Germans are misinformed about the situation in the emirate, while Qatar is a sought-after partner elsewhere; for example “when it comes to energy partnerships or investments,” the Foreign Minister continued.
Read here how various industries view the World Cup:
Qatar has stakes in Volkswagen, the shipping company Hapag-Lloyd and Deutsche Bank, among others. In addition, there have been improvements in labor law, and apart from “fewer than ten countries” – it is likely to be mainly European – from which criticism comes, the rest of the world is happy with Qatar. As evidence, he cited, among other things, that 97 percent of the tickets for the 64 games were already sold out. This underlines what is no secret anyway: a football World Cup is big business. The World Football Association is paying 440 million dollars (equivalent to around 444 million euros) in bonuses FIFA to the participating nations.