In his signature satirical style, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver blasted the 2022 Qatar World Cup. He did it by going over many of the unsettling facts surrounding the tournament in a segment that aired shortly after the first match this past Sunday.
The piece brings to light the often horrific circumstances that have made this World Cup possible. Oliver details the bribery that led to Qatar, a logically unsound choice to host such a major event, being awarded the tournament in the first place, all the way back in 2010.
‘Last Week Tonight’ entertains and informs
Oliver goes on to lampoon paid celebrity “ambassadors” such as David Beckham. Inter Miami co-owner Beckham and others have been signed on by the Qatari tournament officials, as a branding opportunity for the country, trying to shape the narrative surrounding the tournament.
Driving the comedically-tinted segment is the disturbing reality of Qatar and this World Cup – and valid outrage about it.
The massive infrastructure effort that has taken place over the past decade +, creating in some cases entire cities that did not exist in 2010, has been built on the back of what is effectively forced labor. The kafala or “sponsorship” system, has imported hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, mostly from India, Bangladesh and Nepal. These workers have toiled in oppressive heat, unable to switch jobs or leave the country without explicit permission from their employer, in some cases having their passports taken away.
Footage of the conditions some of the workers have been forced to live in is shown. 8 men sharing a single room in labor camps. No showers. Cramped, filthy restrooms and kitchens. And dismissive officials claiming everything is perfectly acceptable. Reports detail how over 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since this World Cup was awarded.
The human rights issues go beyond the treatment of migrant workers that have made the incredibly rapid modernization of the country possible. Women have severely curtailed rights in the country, and homosexuality is illegal, which has created incredibly tense situations and controversy at the tournament, despite “everyone being welcome”.
Oliver closes the piece by hoping that FIFA – an organization he describes as “…a cartel-like group of scumbags and assorted criminals who occasionally put on soccer matches…” – could “just once in it’s [expletive] history find a way to hold itself to the lofty ideals that it has the gall to profess.”
You can watch the full video below:
WARNING: Video contains coarse language
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