FILE – Workers walk to Lusail Stadium in Lusail (Qatar),... [+] Friday Dec. 20, 2019. Eight stadiums are complete for the World Cup. They are all located within a 30-mile radius from Doha. A rights group released a report Thursday stating that the migrant workers who built Qatar's World Cup stadiums were often forced to work long hours in harsh conditions. They also suffered discrimination, wage theft, and other abuses because their employers did not hold them accountable. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar. File)Copyright 2019. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The 2022 World Cup final was a memorable one. Lionel Messi won the gold trophy for Argentina, and cheers were heard from all over the world for their national team's achievements. On the human rights side, the FIFA World Cup Qatar was notable for the lack of protections for women journalists and LGBTQ people and the deaths of thousands migrant workers who contributed $220 billion to the tournament infrastructure and stadiums in Qatar over the past 12 years. Over a multi-year period, the 14 corporate sponsors of Federation Internationale de Football Association FIFA (football's global governing body) collectively pay billions to reach their customers. The sport is known for being a 'beautiful' game. Companies want a pristine halo, not threats to their brand image. FIFA's corporate partners were threatened by abuses of migrant workers, human rights violations, including those against LGBTQ rights, throughout Qatar's tournament.
Gianni Infantino, FIFA president, claimed that it was the 'best World Cup ever'. The spotlight was also on wage theft and the uncompensated deaths low-paid migrants workers. Qatar's penal code which criminalizes extramarital and same-sex relationships, was also in the spotlight. A Qatari official called homosexuality 'damage to the mind' and gay people 'haram', Arabic for forbidden. FIFA then banned the 'OneLove" LGBTQ solidarity armbands from players. The House of Commons passed a motion condemning FIFA’s threat of punishment for players. Stephen Colbert, a late-night TV host, called Qatar's World Cup "Not only anti-gay but anti-fun." FIFA had to change the season to winter due to extreme heat in Qatar. The same terrible working conditions were not protected by Qatari authorities who built the tournament infrastructure. Sportswear giant Hummel concealed its logo and created an all-black "color of mourning" uniform for Denmark's World Cup team. On Instagram, Hummel wrote: "We don't want to be visible during tournaments that have cost thousands of their lives." German soccer fans called for their team to boycott and not attend a lavish football festival that would have harmed thousands of migrants. Le Quotidien newspaper in France announced that it would not cover the 2018 World Cup. France's national team won it. FIFA's corporate partners didn't use their financial power in 2010 to demand human rights due diligence after FIFA granted the tournament to Qatar. Sponsors such as AB InBev/Budweiser and Adidas, Coca-Cola and Visa, along with McDonald's and McDonald's, supported FIFA's call to create a fund to help migrant workers who have been injured, killed, or suffered wage abuses. Instead, they have already written the legacy of this World Cup: Human rights in sport are non-negotiable when it comes to brand safety.