U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will attend the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, officials told Politico on Monday.
Blinken will attend the United States vs. Wales match on Nov. 21 in the city of Al-Rayyan, officials confirmed. While there, Politico said the secretary of state is also expected to hold talks with leaders from Qatar.
Confirmation of Blinken's attendance comes as FIFA prepares to host its most controversial World Cup in years, thanks to the selection of Qatar as the host country. Ever since the small Middle Eastern nation was chosen 12 years ago, controversy has swirled over allegations of corruption and bribery.
Beyond these allegations, much scrutiny has been seen toward the decade-long process that Qatar underwent in getting ready for the World Cup. The Guardian reported that the country spent an estimated $200 billion to prepare for the event, in comparison with the estimated $11 billion spent by Russia during the 2018 World Cup.
Despite this massive pricetag, The Guardian noted the concerns surrounding the building of the World Cup stadium sites, particularly when it comes to migrant workers. The outlet reported an estimated 6,500 migrants from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka died doing construction in Qatar from 2010 to 2021.
Additionally, Amnesty International estimated that at least 100,000 workers in total had been abused or exploited by Qatar since the announcement of the World Cup.
It is unclear exactly what Blinken's goal from the trip will be. However, the Biden administration in January designated Qatar as a "major non-NATO ally."