VMA in Gällivare and Malmberget, Norrbotten •

VMA in Gällivare and Malmberget, Norrbotten •

When Qatar was named host country for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in 2010, many were surprised because the country was an almost unknown soccer nation. But behind the decision was a well-executed campaign from the kingdom where stone-rich Qatar made huge and strategic investments in France, among others. Virtually all the people within the international football association FIFA who made the decision were later suspected of corruption and some have said afterwards that they regret that Qatar is allowed to host the World Cup. Several people in FIFA’s management had to resign in the wake of the scandal.

Dead workers during the construction of stadiums for the World Cup

Ahead of the World Cup, Qatar has built a number of extraordinary stadiums and a new metro system. Workers have died building stadiums. Human rights organizations criticize the lack of rights for foreign workers in the so-called kafala system, which is seen as a form of modern slavery in the Gulf states. The authorities in Qatar, on the other hand, claim that working conditions have improved.

Little Qatar is a diplomatic powerhouse

Although Qatar is a small country, the kingdom has great power. Qatar has led negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan, with Hamas in Gaza and at the same time has good relations with both the US and Iran. Through the television channel al-Jazeera, which is owned by Qatar, the country has further strengthened its influence worldwide. Under former leader Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani’s rule, Qatar became the richest country in the world relative to its population. Qatar has enormous deposits of natural gas and oil, which laid the foundation for the country’s wealth. The country has exclusive shopping habits, for example Qatar has bought the Harrods department store in London as well as the world’s then most expensive work of art, The Card Players by Cézanne, via its investment fund.

Cast: Cecilia Uddén and Johan Mathias Sommarström, Middle East Correspondents, Richard Henriksson, football expert Radiosporten. Since the podcast was recorded, Richard Henriksson has quit Sveriges Radio.

Program manager: Johar Bendjelloul

Producer: Katja Magnusson

Technician: Sandra Pettersson

The episode was first published in January 2022.


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