I wrote this a while ago, but never posted it. Here it is, in all it's outdated glory:
The AFC Asian Cup is being hosted this year by Qatar. On July 14th, I took in a great game where Australia and South Korea played an intense match to a 1-1 tie. It was a joy to experience. It’s just too bad that all who wanted to attend were not allowed in. My friend and I took our two kids to see their first football game. We had no problem getting tickets. Then, five young Nepalese labourers attempted to get tickets. They were told that only “family and ladies” tickets were left. They asked me what to do. I didn’t have an answer. They looked confused. I figured that the stadium must be pretty packed if they were just down to one section reserved for families. When we entered the stadium, I saw the reality. It wasn’t packed at all. There were all kinds of empty seats. Then, it was announced that attendance was 15,000 people in a stadium with capacity for 25,000. My friend and I were in the “family” section, where there were several groups of Arab and Western men. Our supposed “family section” was not a family section at all. It was a general seating area. So, why on earth would five workers be denied entry into a stadium with 10,000 empty seats? That is the way it is in malls, in parks and anywhere else that labourers are not wanted. These young men are the very ones who will be building the stadiums, the roads, the infrastructure needed to put on the World Cup when Qatar hosts it in 2022. But, how many of these workers be allowed into the stadiums? They work long hours in brutal conditions, live in squalid conditions and tend to earn very low wages. Often, their passports are taken away, and they are subject to a system that essentially makes them slaves to their employers. The very people who are building Qatar are outcasts and discriminated against. And when they try to go to malls, parks and tourist areas they are turned away. Apparently, the same goes for some of these foreign workers who try to go to Asian Cup football matches. The Asian Federation Cup is proving to be a games where only select fans are permitted to attend, despite the fact organizers would like to have full stadiums. It makes no sense. What will happen when the World Cup arrives in 2022?