Don’t celebrate too hard at this year’s World Cup
The World Cup is finally here! FIFA is set to kick off the competition at the end of November, marking the first time in history of the games they will be played through the winter.
While many soccer fans, including myself, are very eager to show their national pride and witness a wonderful competition of the best athletes in the world, there has been a dark cloud looming over the cup for more than a decade.
It becomes difficult to cheer for an event that has caused so much corruption, intimidation, and death leading up to its kickoff. For those who don’t know, corruption has been in question since Qatar’s initial bid day in 2010.
Russia and Qatar were shockingly selected as World Cup hosts in 2018 and 2022 over bids from England, United States, Holland-Belgium, and Spain-Portugal. The aftermath has led to a decade long investigation into the proceedings, which found five leaders on the world cup board were bribed from Qatari Officials to vote for their bid.
While the majority of these FIFA officials have been fired and indicted on bribery charges, the decision still resonates negatively in the football world.
From a competitive view, as host of the World cup, Qatar automatically receives qualification to the most lucrative tournament in the world. Qatar has never qualified in a previous tournament. While I am in support of growing the game, this team has been given the opportunity to compete strictly from the country’s wealth in oil money and has taken a spot away from a country more deserving of qualification.
Qatar is also under fire for the lack of rights migrant workers have had. There’s been a reported 6,500 migrant worker deaths in the country since the bid announcement of 2010, mostly categorized from heat stress or cardiac arrest from working on the stadiums. In perspective, the Qatar World Cup has had more deaths before the competition has even begun than every other major sporting event in the 21st century combined.
Most importantly, I think about the message the world cup brings to fans that represents an image of how different cultures can enjoy competition in harmony. Unfortunately, this seems like an impossible feat with the Qatari Government, how can a country that suppresses women’s’ rights and bans homosexuality advertise “everyone is welcome” for this World Cup when they clearly do not support anyone besides heterosexual males? I pray the biggest headlines from this World Cup come from what happened on the field instead of outside of the stadiums.
But what does all of this mean you ask? ‘Sam, the World Cup is in 2 weeks we can’t just boycott it!’ That’s not my point, my point for all soccer fans is to remember why we love this sport and what it has done to bring nations together in a positive manner, and by doing so paying close attention to the effects this World Cup brings. If we are aware of the impact, we can be better informed to protest acts of corruption in a game that means so much to us.