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No Goals at Qatar’s World Cup – David Li(ST) – Medium

More than a club-FC Barcelona

Soccer captivates millions, if not billions, of people around the world. From Major League Soccer in the United States to Champions League in Europe to World Cup qualifying matches around the world, soccer is physically everywhere. Soccer makes more money than ever before. The 2018 World Cup alone was projected to make 6.1 billion dollars for FIFA. One player alone had a transfer fee of 117 million US dollars. Soccer’s financial and geographical influence make FIFA, the governing body of soccer, an influential organization. Its crowning event, the World Cup, is globally significant and influential.

In 2022, fans will decide if they are willing to participate in a controversial World Cup that FIFA allowed to happen. Ultimately, fans have many reasons to not participate and those who watch will be complicit in Qatar’s harmful and corrupt actions.

Yield to none-Footscray

FIFA has stayed with the decision to have Qatar host the World Cup despite numerous controversies, scandals and logistical issues. Examples range from accusations of bribing FIFA officials, forcing the World Cup to be held in November and December, being hostile to LGBT visitors, and potential evidence of supporting terrorism. FIFA could and should have revoked Qatar’s right to host the World Cup at any time after 2010 as bribery and illicit tactics became apparent. After all, they do not hesitate to investigate charges of game tampering. England offered to be the host country, providing FIFA with an easy way out of their fiasco. Instead, FIFA stood still and thereby legitimized the shady bidding tactics and unsafe worker treatment.

A sound mind in a healthy body-Carlton FC

Just like many other Gulf nations, Qatar uses migrant labor for manual labor. Building infrastructure for the World Cup in the middle of the day in the summer and unsafe workplace techniques have resulted in numerous worker deaths. If workers want to leave, they cannot because of the kafala system which allows employers to take passports and force workers to receive their employer’s signature. It is not a leap of imagination to see how this inhibits the rights of workers and forces them to be in the unsafe conditions that they are. While the 2022 World Cup is not the cause of this mistreatment, FIFA has done nothing to remedy this. Instead, they watched the kafala system take passports, miserable housing conditions continue, and the deaths of 1,200 workers since Qatar was given the World Cup. According to the International Trade Union Confederation, 4,000 workers will die before the projects are completed in 2020. An additional sobering realization is that if each estimated death was worth one minute, then “the first 44 matches would be played in silence” according to the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions. If that was the case, only 20 out of 64 matches would have noise. Fans should be mortified by Qatar’s actions and furious at FIFA for doing nothing. The natural way to convey these emotions would be to refuse to support FIFA and Qatar by refusing to watch, buy merchandise, and convince others to do the same.

True love-Borussia Dortmund

Information about Qatar’s actions is widely known. It has been reported on by news outlets from across the world. No fan can claim ignorance. In spite of this knowledge, fans from around the world will want to watch because they simply love soccer. There is no alternative to the excitement, joy, and atmosphere that only a World Cup can provide. While true love for the game may be enough of a reason for some, that is not enough for anyone to absolve themselves of being complicit in the crimes of FIFA and Qatar. Fans did not cause the problems, but they can become complicit by participating. That would say that the actions of Qatar and inaction of FIFA do not matter enough for them to say no to a World Cup.

Out of darkness cometh light-Wolverhampton FC

There is no shortage of soccer. There are many credible leagues throughout the world like Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga. There are tournaments set up by the six FIFA confederations such as the Confederations Cup, Cup of Nations, Champions League, and the Copa América. Despite this saturation of soccer, the World Cup is still the preeminent tournament. Evidently, the World Cup provides something that every other soccer event cannot provide, which is a national dream. Other tournaments are at the local or continental level, while the World Cup is international. This is where Germany can play the Albicelestes of Argentina, small nations like Iceland can gain renown, and many more storylines that can inspire a nation. Looking at what is on the line, fans refusing to miss an opportunity to revel in the national dream that appears out of the darkness every four years becomes much more understandable. Still, the fan is saying that the national dream is worth more than saying no to corruption and mistreatment of workers.

Foxes never quit-Leicester City

The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar regardless of what happens from now on. FIFA has concluded its internal investigations. Eight stadiums continue to rise in Qatar. This fatalism has been baked into soccer fans over multiple years of FIFA corruption scandals that have not resulted in any meaningful changes for FIFA. There was one president, now there is another. Resultantly, why should soccer fans quit the game when the foxes stay? Why should soccer fans give up one of a finite amount of World Cups for an inevitability? This event only happens every four years, and in a nearby region even fewer. This may be the first and only time a fan from the Middle East can participate in the spectacle and glory. The average lifespan in the US is 78 years or approximately 19 World Cups. That is a finite amount, and rational fans may wonder why they should sacrifice one of their World Cups. The fan would be paying the price of grudgingly supporting FIFA and Qatar, tolerating human rights abuses, and the corruption behind the bidding process. However, the transaction results in participating in a global event, see a national dream potentially become reality, and enjoyment of the beautiful game.

To do is to dare-Tottenham Hotspurs

The many reasons that fans have to say no to the 2022 World Cup are numerous and range in scope. However, the common reason that they fail to be a compelling call for action from fans is because it appears that individual action would not create meaningful change. A single fan refusing to participate in a World Cup will not make FIFA become a transparent organization or restore the lives of dead migrant workers. Then again, a single raindrop does not believe it is responsible for the flood. Not participating in 2022 will keep you in the clouds, above the flood of complicity. This is a dare, and a difficult and unlikely one, but if there is one thing soccer fans are capable of, it is believing that improbable events can happen. The improbable save, long range goal, and every uncertain thing in between is why we watch in the first place. Surely then, we can watch a different improbable dare off of the soccer field.

Straight to the goal-Olympique de Marseille

For all of the discussion as to how fans would be complicit if they participated, that should not take away from FIFA and Qatar. They both will profit immensely and walk away unscathed. The complicity of fans would exist in a grey zone, while our aforementioned duo would be relegated firmly in the black. Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that nothing can be in the white. Not even the fans who say no as they are giving up a magnificent sporting event, and surely not the game itself that has become subservient to FIFA.

We are who we are-Bayern Munich

Fans of the beautiful game should stick to their decision, as ultimately they will live with their choice. These individuals are the reason the sport and the World Cup are the enjoyable events that they are. The energy, money and attention they provide should be valued and treated as something that needs to be worked for. Fans are who they are, and will make the right decision for themselves in 2022.

You’ll never walk alone- Liverpool FC

Even though every fan will have to make a personal decision, they will not do so on their own. Every soccer fan will have to look at their values and make a decision. One cannot truly blame someone who participates in the 2022 World Cup, just as one cannot fault someone who refuses to. FIFA is the true villain, with the fans stuck as pawns. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The United States, Canada, and Mexico will host the 2026 World Cup with an expanded tournament of 48 teams. More soccer, more fans, and less controversy lie on the horizon, reminding us of what a World Cup should embody and be like. Regardless, all individuals connected to soccer will walk out of this chapter with a stain on their collective soul.


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