As the world watched the FIFA World Cup 2022 – hosted by Qatar – opening ceremony full of entertainment and anticipating a whole month of high-octane football action, I had a twinge of doubt. Are the ethical and moral circumstances surrounding this latest edition of the World Cup Ok?
A couple of days back I was watching the recently released Netflix documentary, “FIFA Uncovered”. It is a documentary exposing all the dirty laundry of the governing body of the most loved and followed sport on earth. Some of the revelations put an end to any doubt of FIFA’s love for corruption. The ex-co members of FIFA deeming Qatar worthy of hosting the 2022 World Cup is the shining jewel at the top of FIFA’s corruption crown!
Qatar beat the USA and Canada to become the hosts of the 2022 World Cup, defying all logic as at the time of the voting, Qatar had next to no infrastructure worthy of hosting an event of this magnitude in comparison to their opponents vying for the same project. Despite all this, Qatar was able to “buy” their way into becoming the hosts as the documentary shows.
A segment shows the immense Qatari investment in French ventures following the ensuring of Michel Platini’s (former UEFA president and FIFA ex-co member) vote going for Qatar’s bid. Interestingly, Qatar’s investment in Paris Saint Germain, the biggest club in France and the club Lionel Messi plays for now, is a part of Qatar’s investment in France following Platini’s tilt.
Sports washing has long been an issue plaguing the world of sport. It’s basically a bid to use sports to improve reputations and brands damaged by wrongdoings of many kinds. What better sport than the most famous one known to mankind? So, an investment of USD 12 billion to host this World Cup was worth it. This included building stadiums, hotels and even entire cities from scratch. Qatar’s bid to sportswash their country’s image of human rights violation (let’s not get into the details) was just the latest in a long run which included the 1936 “Nazi Olympics”.
As a football romantic, I am cynical of the credibility of the 2022 World Cup and its shenanigans, but as Morgan Freeman said during his speech at the opening ceremony in what according to me was the highlight of the evening, “What unites us here is so much greater than what divides us. How can we make it last longer?” I do hope the most emotionally stirring game in the world does take center stage amidst all this controversy, and if not anything else, we as a world community can enjoy our heroes fighting it out far away from the dirt that touched the hands of FIFA officials and celebrate the ultimate glory anyone related to football can dream of!