Climate and human rights, what has happened so far at the World Cup in Qatar

The World Cup in Qatar are confirmed to be very “political”: from the impact on the environment to the claims on the pitch, here’s what has happened so far in addition to the goals.

Environment, geopolitics, human and civil rights. THE World Cup in Qatar they have not yet reached the end of the first phase that they have already confirmed themselves as the most “political” in the history of fifa. After all, the premises were all there: the investigations into migrant workers who died in the 10 years of preparing the infrastructure necessary for the tournament (6,500 for the Guardian, 400-500 for Qatar), the lack of respect for human rights in Qatar, the very strong polluting footprint of the tournament. All issues that had led, in recent months, to numerous protests and boycotts by fans, institutions, teams themselves.

Over 3 degrees more in Doha during the World Cup

Ten days before the start, the impact of the World Cup in Qatar on theenvironment it’s already very strong. Climate Central experts explain that all activities related to the 2022 World Cup (from 2011 to 2023) will emit approximately 3.6 million tons of CO2 equivalent, equal to the annual emissions of over 775 thousand petrol cars. This also equates to an increase of more than 70 percent over the 2018 World Cup held in Russiaand a record for the event since 2010, the first edition for which certain data are available.

The largest shares of emissions during the World Cup in Qatar are expected to come from travel (52 percent mainly from international air travel, but also from the daily shuttle planes between Doha and Dubai), the construction and operation of infrastructure (24 percent) and give it housing (20 percent). Fifa has officially committed to making the 2022 World Cup the first carbon-neutral tournament, a goal that will largely rely on carbon offsetting.

qatar world cup
World Cup in Qatar, Italian invades the field during Portugal-Uruguay

But an independent analysis by Carbon Market Watch suggests that FIFA’s accounting approach has underestimated emissions from stadium construction. The first result is that these days the average temperature in Qatar is 3.4 degrees higher than the average for the same period of the year, with serious physical repercussions on the athletes themselves. According to Andrew Pershing, director of climate science at Climate Central, “the stress of racing in extreme heat is affecting an increasing number of athletes, and climate change is making athletes riskiest outdoor sports for both professionals and the rest of us. And it will continue to be even more risky, until net greenhouse gas emissions are cut and global temperatures stop rising.

A special mention goes to the excessive use of air conditioning outdoors in the eight facilities that host the World Cup matches in Qatar. Under each seat there is an air vent, and many fans and journalists have said it: it’s cold in the stadium. So cold that even some players have been affected like those of Brazil: striker Antony, in an interview with ESPN Brasil, revealed: “I had a bad sore throat for a few days that bothered me a bit, it was the air conditioning that gave me problems. Not only did I go through it, but other players also had coughs and sore throats.” The other players were the goalkeeper Alisson and midfielder Paqueta.

The Iran case

The case of Iranian national, now eliminated from the World Cup in Qatar, held the court. In their opening match against England, Iranian footballers did not sing the national anthem in protest against the brutal repression of the spontaneous demonstrations that arose in the homeland after thekilling of the young Mahsa Amini, only guilty of not wearing the veil in public. Apostrophized as “traitors” by the local regime press, the players sang the anthem in the second match against Wales, albeit in a half-hearted manner.

On that occasion, a fan in the stands showed an Iran shirt with the name of Mahsa Amini, which was seized by the Qatari authorities. The anthem was also sung in the third match against the United States, a game with very strong geopolitical significance: it seems that the day before, the suggestion to “behave” to avoid problems for the players’ families at home…

The rainbow colors

Eight European internationals would have liked to take the field entrusting their captain a rainbow headband with the words One Love to support the rights of the gay community in Qatar. Fifa banned the initiative, explaining that all the technical material to play must be the official one of the international federation, receiving a lot of criticism. To remedy this, he relaunched his official campaign No discrimination: in practice, an alternative band to the One Love but official. “We are – Fifa itself explained – an inclusive organization that wants to put football to the benefit of society by supporting good and legitimate causes, but it must be done within the framework of the rules of the competition that are known to all. The president of FIFA Gianni Infantino he reaffirmed his support for the community Lgbtqi+”.

There Germany, in the first match played, protested against this ban: all the players covered their mouths during the official photo, as if to say: “You have taken away our voice”. However, the rainbow was present in the stadiums of the World Cup: for example, on the hats of Wales fans, and on the flag carried on the field by the Italian Mario Ferri, which invaded the pitch during Uruguay-Portugal wearing a Superman shirt with two messages: “Respect for Iranian women” on the back, “Save Ukraine” on the chest. And during France-Tunisia another invader showed, this time, a Palestine flag.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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