Opposing sides: Integrating Qatar's migrant laborers into local football fandom for the 2022 world cup

Susan Dun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Mega-events1 host countries are often motivated by the potential economic gains purported to result from the influx of fans to watch the games live as well as from sponsorships and advertising revenues (Matheson and Baade 2004, 1085-1087). Potential hosts are also motivated by image and branding concerns, hoping to paint a positive picture of their country on the international stage (Carroll 2012, 12-13). Analyses of the FIFA World Cup in particular often discuss its potential to unify across social/economic/racial and other lines or to further such divides in host countries.2 When the historic announcement was made in 2010 that one of the world's richest countries would host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, economic considerations did not appear to be the motivation, but rather Qatar sought the branding potential hosting rights would bring. However, instead of being a public relations coup, Qatar has been relentlessly criticized with allegations of corruption in the bidding process and significant concerns over worker rights and safety. The scrutiny has created pressure for Qatar to develop worker rights, a major challenge to accomplish in a short time frame and one made more complicated by the domestic situation in Qatar. The FIFA World Cup has never been held in a country whose citizens are a small minority of its residents. In the chapter two, interrelated aspects of this situation are evaluated. First, can the Cup unify across the citizen vs. resident alien gap that greatly divides the population of Qatar? Second, can Qatar address its deep social divides to provide sufficient domestic fans to attend matches and thus avoid been broadcast on the world stage with largely empty stadia? Qatar must undertake deeper, systemic change to realize the full potential hosting the Cup can bring to win the inside game.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationQatar
Subtitle of host publicationPolitical, Economic and Social Issues
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781536152227
ISBN (Print)9781536152210
StatePublished - May 28 2019


  • Corruption
  • Fans
  • FIFA world cup
  • Host city
  • Mega-events
  • Migrant workers
  • Qatar
  • Sport and place
  • World cup bid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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