Politics and sports, they argue, should not be mixed. Keep one separate from the other at all times to maintain harmony. When the entire world descends on Qatar for one of the most massive sporting events in history, the 2022 FIFA World Cup, “they” are clearly displaying discriminating tendencies if they are the ones generating and driving the global narrative.
Twelve years have gone since Qatar and Russia were awarded the 2018 World Cup hosting rights, and during that time, one of the most extensive “propaganda” campaigns against the gas-rich Middle Eastern nation has taken place.
Because history is the best teacher, we can only understand why there are more protests against the World Cup now by looking back at why Qatar is still seen as a pariah by “them” in the “modern world.”
Standards That Differ
First and foremost, when Qatar was chosen to host the World Cup, questions about the country’s human rights record arose. The irony of the Qatar claims was that no one dared to bring up the United States’ human rights record when those same rights were awarded for the FIFA World Cup in 2026.
To say the least, the Western media’s shameless tone in lauding the United States, one of the co-hosts of the 2026 World Cup, was false.
No one ventured to ask the person in charge of the bid a single question about police violence against people of colour when the US, Canada, and Mexico won the hosting rights. Furthermore, nobody talked about anything other than football when they could have talked about US invasions disguised as “fights for democracy.”
The second complaint levelled against Qatar was that it did not effectively protect the migrant workers who built the massive World Cup infrastructure through appropriate legislation. Qatar stepped up in this case, expressing regret to the families of the workers who perished while constructing the infrastructure and promising to take realistic and verifiable measures. Nobody can recall the last time a Western nation sincerely repented for the “3,000 years” of atrocities it committed. not a single one
Last but not least, it was suggested that Qatar should not recognise the LGBTQ community because it violates Islamic law and thus their culture as a whole. It is as simple to understand as the French government’s “burqa ban,” but “they” believe that the former is wrong to enact their own set of rules in their own country, whilst the latter is free to do whatever they want on the area they call France. Nobody asked the 2018 World Cup champions about their thoughts on the “burqa ban,” but they were asked if they would wear the “One Love” armband in support of the LGBTQ community. What a charlatan!
Was It Bought Or Won?
In 2015, the US Department of Justice made public a 47-count, 164-page criminal indictment of seven FIFA executives, leading to the collapse of the FIFA Executive Committee, which was afterwards renamed the FIFA Council.
FIFA’s former president, Sepp Blatter, was not eventually found guilty. He was then accused of wrongdoing in another instance and dismissed from the football governing body.
The FIFA corruption scandal exposed how many people received millions of dollars in exchange for hosting the FIFA World Cup.
Qatar continues to deny paying anyone money, especially a bribe, in order to win the World Cup. FIFA further disputes that financial factors influenced the decision to hold the World Cup in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. However, the corruption claims and whistleblower stories show that no country has ever hosted a World Cup without engaging in illegal behaviour or having a hidden goal.
However, questioning only Qatar, as if they were the nation that started this trend, is an entirely flawed and wrong evaluation. If Qatar is being investigated for possible corruption in the selection of the host nation, the World Cups that have previously taken place, as well as those that will take place in the future, should all be scrutinised in the same way.
World Cup Football Or Political Intrigue?
Qatar has worked for 12 years to successfully host the FIFA World Cup, one of the world’s largest sporting events.
However, when the main football tournaments approached, the conversation shifted away from the “beautiful game” and into politics.
Prior to the incident, the Western media reported that everything was wrong with and in Qatar. FIFA President Gianni Infantino delivered a chaotic press conference the day before the World Cup began.
Infantino came out swinging in front of a large crowd of journalists, declaring, “I’m from Europe. Before we start teaching moral lessons to others, we Europeans should apologise for what we have done to the rest of the world over the last 3,000 years.
Infantino, the son of an Italian migrant worker, argued that Qatar has “made progress” in improving migrant workers’ rights while also criticising everyone for their “hypocrisy.”
“When I first arrived here six years ago, I mentioned migrant labour in my first meeting. How many of these European or Western corporate firms that make billions of dollars a year from Qatar and other countries in the region have sought authorities about migrant worker rights? I have a solution for you. None of them, declared FIFA’s president, adding that the moral lesson was entirely one-sided and thus misleading.
He then discussed Qatar’s stadium alcohol ban and educated everyone some geography and history.
Every decision made during this World Cup is the consequence of FIFA and Qatar working together. Every decision is questioned, discussed, and reached as a group. I’m not sure how many fan zones there will be; eight, ten enormous fan zones, and over 200 alcohol vending machines. According to Infantino, you may go three hours without a beer, although drinking is outlawed in football stadiums in many major European countries, including France, Spain, Portugal, and Scotland.
Finally, he advised everyone to prioritise football over everything else, and for a time, that counsel was heeded.
Football gained popularity after Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina. Messi’s team was one of the favourites to win the talisman’s final World Cup, but they struggled to score when it mattered and regularly played offside.
However, politics entered the equation once more when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken slammed FIFA for prohibiting the wearing of the “One Love” armband.
Blinken told reporters in Doha, alongside top Qatari officials, that “one of the most powerful things about sports, about soccer, is the ability to bring the world together.”
It always disturbs me when we see restrictions on the freedom to free expression. This is especially true when the message is one of diversity and inclusion. Furthermore, no player on the football field, in my opinion, should be forced to choose between upholding these ideals and playing for their team.
Germany found a new way to express their indignation, lining up for a team photo while covering their lips to represent how the “One Love” armband ban has silenced them. They were seen covering their faces after a painful 2-1 loss to a resurgent Japan after more than 90 minutes of play. Because Germany must overcome Spain and Costa Rica in order to advance to the round of 16, they risk repeating their fate from the 2018 World Cup.
The reluctance of the Iranian football squad to perform the national anthem before their first match versus England was interpreted as yet another political protest. They were lost 6-2, but they won the hearts of their Iranian fans.
The Essential Question!
The final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is scheduled on December 18 at the Lusail Stadium. The 12-year journey of the host country from obtaining the right to host the grandest event in the game to actually inviting the world to their territory will be chronicled in two colours in history.
First, the West will say, like it did with Saudi Arabia, that Qatar used its money to “sportswash” its image. Even if Qatar hosts one of the best-organized World Cups in history, their rhetoric will focus on what Qatar should have done rather than what Qatar actually did.
Instead, as the World Cup progresses and the world witnesses an Islamic nation welcoming all cultures, religions, and orientations in one location to watch the most “beautiful game” on earth, the message would be fairly clear – let sports unite us all, rather than turning every sporting event into a political telenovela.