John Oliver takes aim at ‘logically inexplicable’ Qatar World Cup in blistering Last Week Tonight monologue

John Oliver launched into a blistering attack on Fifa and Qatar as the 2022 World Cup kicked off.

During Sunday’s (20 November) episode ofLast Week Tonight, the British comedian explained to his US viewers that the tournament was “like the Super Bowl, except the rest of the world actually gives a f***”.

Calling Fifa “a cartel-like group of scumbags... who occasionally put on soccer matches”, he explained how Qatar was “going all out” to turn the World Cup into a “major branding event”.

“Qatar wasn’t just a surprising choice, it was logically inexplicable,” Oliver said. “It would be like if the Westminster Dog Show awarded the Best in Show title to a tortoise. Nothing against that tortoise, but not only should it not have won, it should have been automatically disqualified.”

He referenced the blazing weather and the “host of human rights violations” within the country, before covering the accusations that secured their World Cup bid through bribery, something the country has denied.

“I won’t say that Qatar definitely got the World Cup through bribery,” Oliver said. “But I won’t say that they didn’t. And I will say that they did.”

He then discussed the 10-year process of building stadiums in the country, where hundreds of thousands of migrant workers reportedly paid huge fees to travel to Qatar, then had their passports taken away and were forced to work in the 52 degree heat for minimal pay.

One investigation claimed that thousands of migrant workers, mostly from India, Nepal and Bangladash, had died in Qatar from 2010 to 2020, although Qatar said that it was just 37, with only three directly being related to work.

Comedian didn’t hold back his feelings about the tournament (HBO)
Comedian didn’t hold back his feelings about the tournament (HBO)

Claiming that the stadiums were built through “modern-day slavery”, Oliver angrily explained: “When Fifa awarded Qatar the World Cup, there was only one way those stadiums were getting built, and there was only one group of people who was going to do it. And they gave them the tournament anyway.”

Oliver then discussed the country’s stance on women and LGBT+ issues, saying: “The Qatari government is engaging in some truly horrendous behaviour, and we can’t just gloss over that and uncritically put it in the spotlight. It’s an authoritarian regime, not Mel f***ing Gibson.

“By the way, here’s a fun game. Guess how many movies he’s been in this year. You’re wrong, it’s seven. This truly has been the year of Mel.”

Concluding his monologue, Oliver said: “Here’s the thing. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t watch this World Cup or be excited about it. As tough as this is to admit, I will be watching... But let’s try and make sure a line is drawn here.”