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FIFA World Cup in Qatar: A Field of Restrictions and Controversy

For the first time in FIFA history, the World Cup is held in a Muslim country. Qatar has reportedly spent up to $220 billion in preparation to host the world’s largest stage. Playing the World Cup in a Muslim country meant that the rules would be different.

A few weeks before kickoff, FIFA released a statement on Twitter announcing the prohibition of alcohol sales in the stadium. The announcement was made after ticket sales were purchased, which angered a lot of the fans. Many of them took to twitter and other social media platforms to voice their dismay.

However, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, seemed to downplay the public’s disapproval of the ruling. 

“If for three hours a day you cannot drink a beer, you will survive,” Infantino said in a press conference. “Maybe there is a reason why in France, in Spain, in Scotland, alcohol is banned in stadiums. Maybe they are more intelligent than us, having thought maybe we should be doing that.”

The teams were also threatened to be yellow-carded if they were shown wearing any rainbow armbands, including the ‘One Love’ armband which signifies inclusion and diversity. Two yellow cards would result in players ejected from the game and banned from the following match– a risk no player has yet taken. The rainbow armband is widely known as a symbol for the LGBTQ+ community. Qatar’s laws do not recognize the legitimacy of such relationships and the country has disallowed its representation on home turf. 

Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari, who is the top security officer for the 2022 World Cup made it clear that people in same-sex relations are welcome to attend, but its representation and symbolism is not allowed. 

“Here we cannot change the laws,” Al Ansari said. “You cannot change religion for 28 days for the World Cup.”

Because of this, many public figures have made known their refusal to take part in this year’s World Cup games due to these restrictions as well as Qatar’s exploitation of migrant workers. 

Another first for Qatar is that it allowed fans and media to fly in from Israel to watch the game. According to the Israeli foreign ministry, flights between Israel and Qatar have not yet been exchanged, as the country of Qatar also does not recognize Israel as a legitimate state. However, videos have circulated of Arab fans refusing to speak to Israeli reporters and taking many opportunities to voice a ‘Free Palestine’ movement. Likewise, the Palestinian flag has made several appearances thus far at the World Cup events. 


Despite all of these differences, sports has a way of unifying the masses. 

Google estimates a total of one million attendees and over three billion people are watching the World Cup from home. 

The games will continue from now until December 18, 2022, which will be the championship tournament. 

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  • Mariam Dahoui Charara

    Mariam Dahoui Charara earned an undergraduate degree in journalism and a Masters in Teaching from Wayne State University. Initially an aspiring sports writer, her passion for writing shifted after having a family. She is a published author of children’s Islamic books and aims to continue to write with purpose from her hometown of Dearborn, Mich.

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