Migrant workers' conditions in Qatar: Prospects of change on the road to the 2022 World Cup

25-11-2013

The decision of FIFA, world football's governing body, to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, despite its climate constraints and the lack of a domestic football tradition, was a major victory in Qatar's long-term strategy aimed at enhancing the Emirate's international outreach, within a broader ambitious foreign policy. However the challenge of hosting the World Cup could trigger major social change, endangering the Qatari political system which has remained untouched by the Arab Spring. Indeed the absolute monarchy is sustained by a generous benefits system for the minority – Qatari citizens – while the majority – 94% of the, mostly migrant, workforce – suffers harsh working and living conditions.

The decision of FIFA, world football's governing body, to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, despite its climate constraints and the lack of a domestic football tradition, was a major victory in Qatar's long-term strategy aimed at enhancing the Emirate's international outreach, within a broader ambitious foreign policy. However the challenge of hosting the World Cup could trigger major social change, endangering the Qatari political system which has remained untouched by the Arab Spring. Indeed the absolute monarchy is sustained by a generous benefits system for the minority – Qatari citizens – while the majority – 94% of the, mostly migrant, workforce – suffers harsh working and living conditions.