The True Cost of the World Cup

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is quickly approaching, and with it also comes excitement and controversy. But, have you heard any news of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?

It might seem too soon, but the violations of human rights have already been set in motion. In September of 2013 The Guardian had a special report on the conditions of the migrant workers who are constructing the stadium for the much anticipated soccer matches. Migrant workers from Nepal are dying in record number; 44 Nepalese workers died in a time span of two months, half from heart failure or accidents in the work place, reports the Guardian. The working conditions are tragic. At times the workers have to work in 50C and may even be denied water.

After the Guardian exposed this reality, nothing has been done, even after humanitarian rights organizations, Fifa and the European parliament have raised concerns for the workers. The International Trade Union Confederation has also predicted that 4,000 migrant workers could die before 2022. The only solution is for the government to act upon such an injustice and, some argue, to also put an end to the kalafa system (a system used to monitor the construction migrant workers in which they are completely dependent on their in-country sponsor, usually the employer, for legal status). An update on the working conditions is scheduled for March of 2014. It is significant to note that the journalism that The Guardian has been printing, while saddening, is very much needed, especially in a world where journalism that exposes the truth is vanishing little by little.

Sure, the World Cup has been a part of me (excuse the cliché) ever since I can remember. The World Cup meant creating and spending great memories with my family. A time in which we all found ourselves around the television set cheering for Mexico. My hopes and dreams that were born in those days taught me about life in general, for sure enough they would be followed with disappointment,  yet the overall atmosphere was enough to make me forget about my hopes and instead celebrate. I also like how Fifa makes a point to be anti discrimination and how the world unites under a sport, but the price is too high if men are dying in order for the world to have a few days of entertainment.

My experience with the World Cup is far from unique. In fact, soccer transcends borders and differences. There is no better word to describe soccer than global for it brings men and women, boys and girls from all different walks of life together. And, the world over has noticed using soccer as a way to unite people behind a common goal, like for example the organization Street Football World. An excellent documentary that showcases not only the aesthetics of soccer but also the utility is Life is a Game, Football is Life. We need to continue to take care of such a uniting force and not let the lack of human compassion and human rights tarnish this beautiful event.