In 2011, Qatari-owned Holding Company, Qatar Sports Investments completed the takeover of French Ligue 1 side, Paris Saint-Germain. A few months before, on 2nd December 2010, Qatar had been awarded the hosting rights for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This turn of events posited a well-hatched effort by the Oil-rich country to gain prominence in the world of football.
It is reported that on taking control of PSG, Nasser Al-Khelaifi (President of PSG) and his board members set a transfer target of signing either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. They met that target this summer with the free transfer signing of Lionel Messi from Barcelona. However, the push by the Qatar-owned company is an elaborate way of image laundering and covering up the exploitation by the nation.
In the aftermath of winning the bid to host the World Cup, Qatar embarked on an aggressive development plan. They set out to build numerous stadiums and in some cases, whole cities, in preparation for the football Mundial.
These massive construction projects require a lot of labour and manpower, which the small country of Qatar does not possess. Thus, they recruited many immigrant workers from minority groups from Southeast Asia to work under inhumane conditions amidst repeated human rights abuses. It is also rumoured that many immigrant workers had died in Qatar due to the work conditions but their death has been covered up.
In 2021, numerous European countries like Germany and Norway staged demonstrations against the labour exploitation and mistreatment of minority groups working in Qatar. Ahead of the World Cup, Lionel Messi would be an unofficial supporter of the Oil-rich country due to the fact that he plays for a Qatari-owned club. The push by PSG to sign either or both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo is a means to cover up and launder their image against the many atrocities they have been accused of.