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The World Cup and the Environment

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

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

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