Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Column: Worldwide sporting event venues should be chosen more carefully

April 23, 2014

Commentary by Lucas Wimmer

People who compete in high-level international games are good at what they do.

They train their whole life. They sacrifice a massive portion of their youth and social life to train, they eat healthy and keep their body in top conditions, they practice as much as they possibly can.

But then they end up competing in…Qatar? Sochi? Why do we do this to them?

It was pretty well-documented throughout the winter Olympics the struggles that Olympic athletes had with their living conditions in Sochi.

Between trying not to injure themselves on ski slopes or ice skating rinks, they had to worry about not injuring themselves by drinking water that is the same color as some of the medals they received, or not having to smash their way out of a bathroom with a broken lock, no light bulbs or a toilet that does not flush toilet paper.

There was a fake video of a wolf walking down an athlete’s hallway, and the conditions over there were so ridiculous that we believed it. We believed a wolf would be walking down a hotel hallway, because apparently Sochi, Russia also is “Game of Thrones.”

After a World Cup in Brazil this summer, we will send our athletes back to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. If you’ve never heard of Qatar, its average temperature during the summer is around 122 degrees. That’s not an exaggeration.

Also, instead of already being prepared for this enormous scale of event, Qatar wanted to build 12 soccer stadiums to be able to house all of the games and will need to spend a reported $200 billion on infrastructure to support the amount of people that will attend, according to That’s billion. With a B.

Unfortunately for them, the cost of making air conditioned stadiums exceeded their estimates, and they have to cut back to only creating eight new stadiums. This isn’t even the biggest worry over this venue.

Last month, it was reported by the International Trade Union Confederation that nearly 1,000 workers had already died during the construction of these stadiums. Seriously, all the numbers in this column seem ridiculous, but they’re true.

The ITUC also reported they estimate nearly 4,000 people will die before the construction is finished. The report also contained testimonials about living/working conditions from workers in Qatar, many of which are reported to be illegal migrant workers being wildly underpaid.

Construction managers were reporting the worksite was “covered in blood” at five in the morning, and there was no report filed about any incident. Construction workers reported their salary has been withheld for one to three months. Cleaners report that eight people share a bedroom, 16 people share a bathroom, and 35 people share a kitchen.

That’s ridiculous. Regardless of the decision process, regardless of any past decisions, regardless of any money that anyone pays, there needs to be a better way to pick places to hold these events.

Subjecting athletes, workers and humans in general to this kind of environment is a pretty bad idea, and it seems obvious that committees like the International Olympic Commission and FIFA that run these giant events would know better.

Apparently, they don’t.

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Founded 1901
Column: Worldwide sporting event venues should be chosen more carefully