The World Cup and the Environment
Updated: Feb 2
By Ashley Murphy | Originally Published December 12, 2022
On Dec. 9 2010 the FIFA World Cup committee announced that Qatar would be hosting for
FIFA 2022, they are the first middle eastern country to host a world cup. This oil rich country is
built on desert terrain with a population of only 2.9 million people. This meant that there had to
be lots new infrastructure built to accommodate the 1.5 million expected visitors. In total, 229
billion was spent on construction for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. When comparing costs of
past World Cups, Russia spent 11.6 billion in the 2018 World Cup, Brazil spent 15 billion in
2014 and south Africa spent 3.6 billion in 2010. Qatar spent more than all of those countries
combined for construction of an entirely new city.
What contributed to these costs? Qatar built seven new stadiums and refurbished the already
standing Khalifa International Stadium. Along with the stadiums, a mosque, medical center,
hotels, skyscrapers and a new public transportation grid was built. Lusail, the name of the city
built entirely for The World Cup Qatar 2022 resulted in costing more than outsiders expected.
There is a slew of evidence against Qatar’s ethical and sustainable efforts since announced to be
hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Labor for construction of infrastructure was sourced by
foreigners from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. Human rights groups raised concern
after construction commenced in 2010, and workers did not start making wages until 2017 after
being caught utilizing forced, unpaid labor. Workers lived in unsafe conditions; many lost their
lives to heat stroke in the Qatari summers when temperatures reached 131 degrees Fahrenheit.
Qatar is also a repressed country, citizens who are publicly apart of the LGBTQ+ community are
punished to a prison sentence or even death. Women are also not allowed to travel in or out of
Qatar without permission from a man first. Junior history and global studies major Madison
Augustyn said, “If the country wasn’t hosting, then these outlined issues would not be publicized
and awareness is better than no knowledge of how Qatar treats their citizens.” Qatar’s culture
being advertised and inflated from World Cup news is frightening when these are the laws and
ethics in place, yet it may encourage high ranked officials of the country to reconsider laws in place.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 also claims that they are a carbon neutral tournament and all
emissions to make the World Cup Qatar happen are offset. These emissions include energy and
resources used to build and power 229 billion worth of infrastructure and emissions from 1,300
daily flights during the World Cup. The eight stadiums along with 136 practice fields will need
to be maintained and watered daily as well. This means each field needs 10,000 liters of water
each day in the winter World Cup. In order to water fields, water desalination will be required at
a high rate and this process is very energy costing. Qatar’s water supply is already finite due to
limited groundwater supplies, so this adds to environmental stressors. Junior english and film
major Ashley Morales said, “It’s ridiculous that so much money and resources have gone into
this event, all for entertainment. They [Qatar] is essentially greenwashing to undermine the fact
that they are destroying their environment and seemingly no one cares.” Qatar’s carbon footprint
cannot be calculated until the tournament has concluded, so emissions are not offset yet.
Qatar World Cup organizers have a Global Carbon Council, they claim their carbon neutrality
plan includes offsetting by investing in a carbon credit market place that invests in renewable
projects. Qatar is nowhere on track and would need to invest 3.6 million to offset their emissions.
It is predicted they will emit 3.63 million metric tons of pollutants in preparation alone for
hosting. In reality, this ‘carbon neural’ claim is greenwashing to throw a bone to activists who
are influencing the boycott of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
By Ashley Murphy, Rider Eco-Rep