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  • Hello. This is 6 Minute English from

  • BBC Learning English. I’m Neil.

  • And I’m Beth.

  • Every four years the best players in the

  • world gather for one month in the summer

  • to take part in the biggest event in football

  • the World Cup.

  • But this year, for the first time ever, the

  • competition is taking place in winter.

  • Why? Because the 2022 World Cup is

  • happening in Qatar.

  • Over a million fans from all over the world

  • are expected to visit Qatar for the World Cup

  • which starts on the 20th of November.

  • Because temperatures in Qatar exceed 45

  • degrees in the summer, the competition

  • was moved to the winter.

  • But the decision to hold the World Cup

  • in the tiny, oil-rich Gulf

  • state has been controversial.

  • One of the richest countries in the world,

  • Qatar has no tradition of playing football and

  • some have criticised the focus on money

  • instead of sport.

  • And there are other criticisms tooabout

  • human rights and the treatment of the migrant

  • construction workers who built the football

  • stadiums, roads, transport systems and hotels

  • without which the World Cup could not happen.

  • In this programme well be asking:

  • is it right for

  • Qatar to host the World Cup?

  • And of course,

  • well be learning some new and useful

  • vocabulary as well.

  • But before that I have a question for you Beth.

  • Which country has won the World Cup

  • the most times?

  • Is it: a) Italy b) Brazil or, c) Germany?

  • I think it must be Brazil.

  • OK, I’ll reveal the answer at the end of

  • the programme.

  • Advertising for the Qatar World Cup shows

  • football fans staying in new hotels and

  • watching matches in air-conditioned stadiums.

  • But hidden behind this, the lives of the migrant

  • workers from Nepal, India and other South Asian

  • countries reveal a very different story.

  • The population of Qatar is tiny and 95% of

  • the total workforce are foreigners

  • working in extreme heat,

  • housed in poor quality accommodation,

  • and often underpaid.

  • Rothna Begum, a researcher for Human

  • Rights Watch, explained their situation

  • to BBC World Service programme,

  • Business Daily:

  • Were still recording and documenting

  • migrant workers facing abuse

  • and exploitation in Qatar.

  • They include workers reporting having

  • paid exorbitant and illegal recruitment fees

  • to secure work abroad on two-year contracts,

  • and then finding out theyre

  • coming on three-month visas,

  • which means that they're not able

  • to make up or recoup

  • the price that they've paid to actually get

  • this job, and may well be

  • sent home in debt on top

  • of everything else.

  • Migrant workers face exploitation.

  • Exploitation means treating someone

  • unfairly to get some advantage for yourself.

  • Many of the World Cup workers were

  • exploited by being paid less

  • than agreed, being

  • paid late, or not being paid at all.

  • The construction jobs seemed

  • a good opportunity for migrant workers

  • to save money to send home

  • to their families.

  • Many paid exorbitant fees

  • fees which were much bigger

  • than they should be, just

  • to get a job in Qatar.

  • But despite being given two-year

  • job contracts, some workers were

  • only allowed to stay three months.

  • Because they couldn’t make

  • enough money, many returned

  • home in debtowing money to

  • someone that they will

  • have to pay back.

  • What’s worse, many have

  • died building the football stadiums,

  • in accidents, or due to

  • overwork and heat stress.

  • So, with all this criticism,

  • added to the billions of dollars

  • Qatar spent preparing for the

  • competition, was it worth it?

  • James Dawsey is an expert on the

  • politics of football in the

  • Middle East.

  • Here he explains to BBC World

  • Service’s, Business Daily,

  • that for Qatar, hosting the World Cup

  • is more about improving its

  • international reputation than economics:

  • But this is not about economics for Qatar.

  • Qatar is a small state.

  • It is sandwiched between

  • two regional behemoths:

  • Saudi Arabia and Iran.

  • And so its whole policy

  • is geared towards soft power,

  • whether that's sports, whether

  • that's the airport and the airline

  • Qatar may be rich

  • thanks to its oil,

  • but it’s not a large country

  • unlike neighbouring Saudi Arabia

  • and Iran, countries which

  • James Dawsey called behemoths

  • something which is extremely large

  • and powerful.

  • Qatar is sandwiched

  • between these larger counties.

  • If youre sandwiched between two

  • things youre in a narrow,

  • tight space between them.

  • Because Qatar isn’t as powerful

  • as it’s bigger neighbours,

  • it uses soft powerthe way a

  • country uses its economic and

  • cultural influence to persuade

  • other countries, instead of

  • using military power.

  • Hosting an important international

  • event like the World Cup is a part of

  • Qatar’s soft power strategy

  • to be considered an important

  • country on the world stage.

  • Whatever the rights

  • and wrongs of the debate,

  • this will be the first Arab nation

  • to host the World Cup,

  • although it’s unlikely that the Qatari

  • team will actually win -

  • unlike a more famous footballing nation,

  • Italy, who won the first World

  • Cup they hosted in 1934.

  • And speaking of World Cup winners,

  • what was the answer to your question, Neil?

  • Which country has won the most World Cups?

  • I guessed it was Brazil

  • Which was…. the correct answer of course!

  • With five title wins, Brazil

  • is the most successful World Cup

  • team followed closely by Italy and

  • Germany with four titles each.

  • OK, let’s recap the vocabulary weve learned

  • starting with exploitation -

  • treating someone unfairly in

  • order to benefit yourself.

  • If the price of something is exorbitant,

  • it’s much higher than it should be.

  • A debt is an amount of money

  • that you owe to someone else.

  • A behemoth refers to something

  • which is extremely large and powerful.

  • And if youre sandwiched between

  • two things, youre in a in a tight,

  • narrow space between them.

  • And finally, soft power describes

  • strategies used by a country to increase

  • its power through economic

  • and cultural influences,

  • instead of fighting wars.

  • Once again, our six minutes are up.

  • Goodbye for now!