The 2018 World Cup in Russia drew a record-breaking 3.5 billion viewers on television.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be watched by 5 billion people around the world, reported Reuters.
Thats 1.5 billion more audience members compared to Russia’s record-breaking 3.572 billion viewers on television.
That means that more than half of the global population in 2018 that was aged four and over tuned in to world football’s ultimate competition, according to audience data for official broadcast coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The consolidated audience figures for the last version of the tournament were compiled by Publicis Media Sport & Entertainment (PMSE) using scheduling and audience data from official television auditing agencies in markets around the world, FIFA’s Media Rights Licensees (MRLs), and non-captured (out-of-home and digital) audience data.
This comes as Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani slammed the west for unfairly criticising the Gulf state over its hosting of the 2022 World Cup.
“Even today, there are still people who cannot accept the idea, that an Arab Muslim country, would host a tournament, like the World Cup,” he said in an address to the audience at the World Economic Forum.
Qatar, he noted, was “not perfect”, just like other countries, but has pushed reforms and made progress. This includes increases in the minimum wage and new laws aimed to protect workers, notably from heat stress, among the measures taken.
The amir’s comments came during a powerful speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Monday in Davos, in which he addressed criticism levelled at Qatar for being the first Middle Eastern and Muslim country to host the men’s tournament.
He condemned attacks on his country by some people, “including many in positions of influence,” over Qatar’s hosting of the global event.
Labour issues and reforms in Qatar
Over the past few years, Qatar has seen a number of labour reforms. In 2021, the country introduced the region’s first ever non-discriminatory minimum wage law.
Additionally, Qatar approved two key laws in August 2020 to eliminate barriers on migrant workers leaving the country and changing jobs without permission from their employers.
The amir removed limitations on migrant workers changing jobs without permission from their employers and established a monthly minimum wage of 1,000 QAR, including basic living allowances for select workers.
Employers are now obliged to pay their workers allowances of 300 QAR for food, 500 QAR for housing, and a minimum monthly basic wage of 1,000 QAR.
Employers who fail to comply with the minimum wage law will face a one-year jail sentence and a 10,000 QAR fine.
The ministry of labour also launched a new platform for workers’ complaints in May 2021 to enable employees to submit public violations of the labour law.
However, there are numerous cases of employers not abiding by the reforms.
Employees told Amnesty International that changing employment still comes with major obstacles and opposition from dissatisfied bosses.
More than 2,000 labour complaints were filed with the ministry of labour against firms and institutions across the country in December.
In recent months, there has been a slew of new complaints about working hours, compensation, and a variety of other issues.
Qatar’s Minister of Labour Ali Al Marri recently stated that the legislative updates and improvements in the labour sector in recent years have been “continuous and sustainable” and will continue after the World Cup.