• Klaus Birkedal Videbæk
4. term, Applied Philosophy, Master (Master Programme)
Lately, there has been great discussion about the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The tournament is set to take place in November and December 2022, but some believe the whole thing should be canceled, or at least that Denmark should stay home. These people think that Denmark should boycott Qatar as Qatar is charged with corruption, as it has no history of football, as it is engaging in the practice of sportswashing, and most importantly as it treats foreign workers from third world countries badly. On this last matter, research made by The Guardian has shown that at least 6.500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have lost their lives in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup twelve years ago. To some the case for boycott may seem clear on these grounds. I do not think it is. In this thesis I defend the view that Denmark and other rich countries should not boycott the world cup in Qatar. To back this, I use the libertarian defense for open borders. In short, the idea is that because people hold a general right to freedom of movement and a right to engage in voluntary transactions, they should also have such rights across borders, not only in their home countries. In the case of the World Cup, rich countries wish to boycott Qatar as they think that trades made between Qatarian contractors and guest workers from third world countries in terms of employment are unfair. I argue that these transactions are in fact mutually beneficial and voluntary and that it’s wrong for outsiders to interfere. If Denmark and other rich countries did succeed in boycotting, and the World Cup in Qatar was to be canceled, guest workers would have to return to their home countries not fulfilling their contracts. I believe this would put them in a situation worse than the current state in Qatar as they had their own reasons to go to Qatar in the first place. In this situation it would be reasonable for the guest worker to ask if he could come to Denmark if he found a willing employer as Denmark does seem to care about his well-being. But the answer would be no as Denmark and other rich countries do not allow poor workers from third world countries to enter even if they have a job on hand. As the decision about boycotting should be an affair for the national football association and the players, and not the state, I do not wish to obligate them to anything, as they are to do as they want. If they do not support open borders, which is unlikely based on the general attitude to immigration, I do however think that it would be hypocritical to boycott Qatar as the message of protest (unfair treatment of poor workers) would be better directed to their own state.
Publication date1 Jun 2022
Number of pages67
ID: 471915993