The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been stalked by controversy and scandal since its announcement in December 2010.

Stories of Qatari corruption and worker mistreatment have repeatedly made the front page of newspapers in Europe and in the US, and there is no sign the torrent of negative headlines is going to stop any time in the near future.

On 18 May, the announcement that a BBC news team had been arrested in Qatar after attempting to interview migrant workers prompted a media frenzy, heightening concerns about the Gulf nation’s perceived lack of freedom of speech and labour abuses.

Days later, on 21 May, Amnesty International published a report that claimed no significant advances had been made in protecting the rights of migrant workers in Qatar.

This was quickly followed by the arrest of seven Fifa officials on 27 May, which triggered another frenzy of negative headlines and a new scrutiny of payments made in the run-up to the allocation of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Although criticisms of the treatment of labour in Qatar and concerns about the possibility of corruption have been voiced by human rights organisations and journalists for more than four years, Qatar has done very little to address either issue.

To stem the flow of negative news stories and protect its reputation, Qatar needs to look into allegations of corruption internally, as well as cooperating with ongoing international investigations.

More pressingly, it also needs to enact promised reforms to its kafala system, which is used to monitor migrant labourers and has been criticised for leaving workers vulnerable to exploitation and rights abuses.

If it can show that real changes are being made to the way workers are treated on Qatari construction sites, it may be able to silence some of its critics and create a World Cup legacy the country can be proud of.

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