The hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022 represents an important opportunity for Qatar to foster solidarity and strengthen sustainability and respect for human rights. As the first state in the region to host the FIFA World Cup, Qatar is out to set a strong precedent for other states and leave a strong environmental and human rights legacy. Since 2010, when the FIFA World Cup was assigned to Qatar, the country has made a number of highly significant improvements in labor laws and has started a large number of projects to improve sustainability.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup: Building Human and Environmental Legacies through Sport
Hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022 represents an extremely significant opportunity for Qatar to foster solidarity and strengthen sustainability and respect for human rights at national and international level. As the first Muslim and Arab state to host the FIFA World Cup, it is setting out to leave a strong human rights and environmental legacy, setting a strong precedent among the Gulf States.
Since Qatar´s appointment as hosting country in 2010, the country has been undergoing multiple changes concerning its labour laws. Qatar is strongly committed to improving rights for foreign workers. In 2015, it introduced the Wage Protection System, which ensured the electronic and timely delivery of workers´ wages. In December 2016, the ‘kafala’ system, which stated that foreign workers required a sponsor in order to work, change jobs, reside or leave Qatar, was abolished.
Efforts to improve workers´ rights and welfare have been duly recognized by the international community. On Monday 26th of February 2018 the event “Hosting Mega Sport Events: Strengthening the Respect for Human Rights” took place at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, bringing together representatives from sports and governmental and civil society institutions. The focus of the encounter was to reflect on the role that sporting events can play in promoting human rights or the challenges that can arise in such a context.
The secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) of Qatar, Hassan al-Thawadi, made an intervention during the event. He declared that the FIFA World Cup preparations are truly serving as inspiration to achieve progress in the area of human rights in the country. He also mentioned that the country has been partnering with labour law experts of Wood Workers International, to ensure that international standards are met and a strong human legacy is built in the sports world for years to come.
As previously mentioned, Qatar has also been interested in fostering sustainability in the World Cup preparations. Following this commitment, the Minister of Municipality and Environment, H.E. Mohamed bin Abdullah Al Rumaihi, inaugurated the SC’s Tree Nursery on 22 February 2018.
Consequently, Qatar will be self-sufficient in producing all the necessary turf for the 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums. The turf farm, covering an area of 425,000 square meters, and producing more than 1.2 million square meter of landscape grass per year, will be the biggest landscape turf farm in the world. In the Tree Nursery, trees are also grown: the SC plans to plant at least 16,000 trees to improve the esthetic and livability of the areas around the eight stadiums.
Qatar´s commitment to make a positive mark in the area of environmental sustainability was also reiterated in November 2017, when plans for the design of a reusable stadium were disclosed. The Ras Abu Aboud will be erected as a stadium offering capacity for 40.000 spectators, located on Doha’s southern waterfront. However, the structure can be dismantled, stored and reassembled for future usage or for different projects.