What are the U.S. Soccer Federation and U.S. players doing to address the treatment of migrant workers, LGBTQ rights and women's rights in the World Cup host nation? And is it enough?
Grant, honestly it gives me peace of mind to actually see that the USMNT and USSF are truly invested in holding their vendors, accommodations, etc accountable for their migrant workers while in Qatar. Very good to see that they logged a complaint with Kempinski about the subcontractor and had that subcontractor removed from the hotel.
Why did FIFA agree to award Qatar the Cup in the first place? Sure it is nice to try and hold Qatar accountable now, but if social and cultural issues aren't fully considered BEFORE a host is selected, this will be a continuing problem. If it was due to internal corruption, has that been expunged? If not, this will be a continuing problem. Will the USA be able to pass future suitability tests? Or, are we setting ourselves up for national embarrassment in 2026?
Great stuff, Grant. What are your thoughts on the “fan leaders” Qatar is paying to come and offer good PR--and report negative posts--on behalf of the country and World Cup? It appears as if Americans--including media members--are part of this campaign.
By redlining the exploiting subcontractor from eligibility to serve the US, US Soccer can pretend it's hands are clean, however your doorman appears to be no better off, and US Soccer has simply passed the trash. Rainbow flags are not the issue. Human rights, freedom from harm, and abolishing the enslavement of immigrant workers is. I love the World Cup with all my heart, but my dollars are staying stateside for this one. See you in New Zealand.
Excellent brief thanks as always Grant for your insights. Tyler Adams is pure class.
Thanks so much for the thoughtful reporting. I'm glad to hear that US soccer is finding ways to be part of a solution. Also, Tyler Adams, what a class act!
Qatar has white-washed the labor abuses with empty laws and minimal enforcement. The return of Kafala system will happen seconds after the World Cup ends. Kudos for doing something to shed light on this travesty, but it would not take a slick investigative journalist to uncover the depth of this abuse. Maria Ressa '84 would give you a nod for efforts.
As a US fan with nearly a hundred caps, I made the conscious decision NOT to attend this World Cup. I have difficulty just transiting their airport. I cannot spend days or weeks in a country where 90% of the citizens are second class citizens and treated as such openly and blatantly. It is shameful to deny dignity for so many hard-working persons purely on the flag in their passport. No country is perfect, but this is too much for this fan to stomach (and I did not even venture into the corrupt bid or LGBT issues).
Great piece, Grant, thank you. I'm glad about all of the attention you and others are bringing to the Kefala system and the other issues in Qatar. Two questions:
(1) What do you think the odds are that the fan experience in Qatar is just a total disaster (like Fyre Festival style). I looked into going and ultimately decided not, but in addition to all of the issues you detail in the article (I couldn't go and look my kids in the eye when I came home), it looked like there just wasn't the kind of infrastructure necessary for the event. People staying in "luxury tents"? Flying in from Dubai to a city with very little mass transit? It just seemed crazy.
(2) After watching all of this now for several years (there was a brilliant piece on Real Sports about Kefala in Qatar *2015* which raised awareness for me for the first time), what tangible impact do you think you and your fellow journalists can have on Kefala, in particular? If anything, the Gulf states that practice Kefala have gotten MORE involved in international sports since Qatar was awarded the WC. There are now F1 Races in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi, European Tour Golf in UAE and Qatar, and that doesn't include things live LIV Golf, Man City, and Newcastle where Kefala is propping up autocrats taking an ownership stake in the sports we watch. Outside of "awareness," what would a "win" be for you and your journalism?
Thanks, Grant. I appreciate all the work you've put in both I and II, and look forward to the next edition(s).
Excellent reporting. Thanks for digging beneath the surface; unlike Fox, who are basically in "see no evil" mode. I get that they are spending a gazillion dollars on the event, but even so their lack of cohones is disappointing (if not expected). Thanks for doing some real reporting.
"If [my partner] and I are walking down the street with a rainbow flag, holding hands, making out after having a couple of cocktails, there’s absolutely going to be a problem.”
Yikes, that's not great! I guess it also hints at something else not mentioned here, which is alcohol consumption is limited in the country. Going to be interesting to see how those alcohol zones work.
Does anyone still believe the US Department of Justice cares about bribery in FIFA or Qatar? They don’t care about it in the US. They don’t care about a coup d’état in the US.