Qatar World Cup controversies are raising the profile of sports-related ESG, says portfolio manager


According to Luis Garcia Alvarez, equity portfolio manager of the MAPFRE AM Behavioral Fund, the controversial World Cup in Qatar raises the profile of sports-related environmental, social and governance investments.

“If there’s one thing that has characterized the weeks and months leading up to this World Cup in Qatar, it’s the controversies surrounding the social and ethical implications that the choice of this host nation has had. FIFA when the host nation was selected,” he said in a statement emailed to MarketWatch.

The tournament is perhaps the most controversial in World Cup history, with Qatar — tapped to host 2022 on the same December day in 2010 as Russia was chosen to host the 2018 tournament — faced a barrage of criticism over the country’s treatment of migrant workers and approach to LGBTQ+ rights.

See now: The backlash at the World Cup in Qatar is an important moment for football, says ESPN’s Shaka Hislop

ESG investing is well established in areas such as sustainability, for example where a publicly traded company’s transparency in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions closely monitored by investors.

But ESG has been less prominent in sports-related investing, according to Garcia Alvarez.

“The world of sport (and in particular the world of football) is probably the best common ground we have at our disposal to make a positive impact on society through the concept of unity, to test and implement technologies that change the way can improve the way we care for the environment, and to promote good governance in our institutions,” he added. “That’s why it seems surprising that ESG investing has received, at least until now, so little attention in this particular area.”

See now: Sponsors are on a tightrope due to controversies over the World Cup in Qatar

Controversy continues to swirl around the tournament. After FIFA shut down plans for some team captains to promote “One Love” armbands LGBTQ+ rightsthe German team protested on Wednesday by covering their mouths with their hands during a team photo before their game against Japan.

For ESPN commentator and former World Cup star Shaka Hislop, the backlash is one important moment for sports. “History offers these moments that we have to make the most of,” he said during an event organized by MarketWatch Wednesday. “While we have recognized the impact the game can have, the change the game can have, this is a time when we need to make the most of it to recognize that football represents everything.”

The backlash against this World Cup also presents itself challenges for the major sponsors of the tournament, according to brand experts.

See now: British band The Farm bans McDonald’s from using hit in World Cup ad Qatar

FIFA’s list of partners includes American corporate titans Coca-Cola Co.

and Visa Inc.

both of whom are involved in the event in Qatar. McDonald’s Corp.

is also registered as a World Cup sponsor.

Budweiser, the beer sponsor of the World Cup, is in the spotlight after the tournament organizers last minute ban on stadium beer sales.

The Muslim nation, the first country in the Arab world to host the World Cup, had previously said it would allow the sale of beer in stadiums. The reversal of that decision seemed to surprise the Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned brand. But the next day, Budweiser shrugged off the beer ban and teased a new campaign associated with the tournament.

Also see: ‘Well this is awkward’: Qatar bans beer sales in World Cup stadiums, surprising sponsor Budweiser

Budweiser says yes give unused beer to the World Cup winning country.

In May, Amnesty International and 23 other organizations wrote a open letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino who pushed for a “cure for labor abuses behind the 2022 World Cup”.

The death toll of construction workers in Qatar remains firmly in the spotlight, according to Amnesty thousands of migrant workers dead since 2010, when Qatar was selected to host this tournament. The number of deaths cited by Qatar is significantly lower, and the country’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which oversees the World Cup, described Amnesty’s letter as inaccurate.

Related: Is it legal to drink alcohol in Qatar?

“Over the past two decades, Qatar has embarked on an overhaul of its labor system, taking comprehensive measures to benefit our country’s millions of workers,” a Qatari government official said in a statement. pronunciation emailed MarketWatch earlier this month.

FIFA has established grievance mechanisms with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy. As of December 2021, employees are reported to have received $22.6 million in recruiting fees, with an additional $5.7 million pledged by contractors.

Fox Sports, owned by Fox Corp.

the sister company of the parent company of MarketWatch publisher Dow Jones, News Corp

has English-language broadcasting rights in the US for the World Cup in Qatar.

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