Soccer

Qatar's World Cup issues run deeper

26 November 2017 - 00:00 By espn.com

The first World Cup in the Middle East kicks off in exactly five years' time when Qatar will host the opening match of the 2022 Fifa World Cup on November 21.
But while plenty of countries have struggled with the weight of hosting the world's biggest football spectacle, before eventually being ready, Qatar's issues run deep.
Here are five key things that still need to be resolved before the big kickoff.
HUMAN RIGHTS FOR WORKERS:
Qatar has been heavily criticised for the treatment of about 1.6million migrant workers constructing stadiums and World Cup infrastructure.
If there is no real change on the ground and the negative publicity continues, many football fans may think twice about travelling to the country and it may also put off potential sponsors.
DOMESTIC SCHEDULING PROBLEMS:
For the first time in its history, the World Cup is taking place in winter and right in the middle of the domestic season, which means clubs will lose their top players at a crucial time.
The Premier League in particular faces a major problem given that it does not have a winter break and matches over the festive period aren't only financially lucrative but a cherished part of British football culture.
Football fans are yet to hear how their leading domestic leagues will accommodate Qatar 2022 but expect earlier starts or later finishes to the 2022/23 season.
CORRUPTION LOOMS LARGE:
From the moment Qatar was awarded the World Cup, it has been blighted by allegations of corruption and these have still not gone away.
The wide-ranging investigations by US and Swiss authorities into Fifa include the 2010 vote in which the Gulf state secured the tournament.
AN OUTCAST:
Qatar finds itself as a pariah in its own neighbourhood after Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE accused it of supporting terrorism, cutting diplomatic ties and imposing an air, sea and land blockade. This could have serious implications for the event, both in terms of importing materials, to ensuring that fans are able to travel safely.
ALCOHOL BAN:
It may seem a somewhat insignificant issue, but fans not being able to drink could have major implications.
After the organisers announced last year that alcohol would be banned in public places and stadiums, negotiations are set to begin with Fifa on trying to find a way around this.

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