It's been another four year cycle and the world is feasting its eyes on football's greatest showpiece event. Qatar 2022 is guaranteed to offer lots of unforgettable sporting moments, but will undoubtedly be the most politically charged, even more so than Russia 2018.
April , 2023
It would be naive of anyone to say Fifa World Cups are not opportune moments for sports washing. It's the one time where the eyes of the world will be focused on a certain country and the fan fair is sure to intoxicate most.
The irony of that metaphor is deliberate considering the announcement made 2 days before the commencement of the tournament, that alcohol was banned at stadiums. This is true for the general public but with the exception being for those in luxury suites, hammering home the hypocrisy of the elite who exchanged brown paper bags in order to bring Messi and co to their shores.
This distinction brings into question the legitimacy of the Qatari's dedication to upholding their own laws. This should not come as a surprise as the awarding of this tournament was steeped in fraudulent and gross financial activities. The morality of the leadership is unwavering until money is waved at them or at those they so wish to co- opt to their cause.
The absurdity is best seen through the recent "One Love" armband debacle. When teams are in breach of their dress, i.e their kits, common practice has resulted in fines. But Fifa are so bent to the will of their blessers that they had to resort to on field sanctions in the form of yellow cards to any captain who wears the heart-shaped rainbow coloured garment.
The Qatari’s have demanded respect for their "cultural beliefs" but anyone with the will to intellectually engage will know that being a part of the LGBT community is a natural human condition and not a cultural construct, thus making it a human right. Fifa know this but are aggressively held by their crojones.
Footage of Qataris refusing to engage Israeli media have been as powerful as Alex Scott defiantly wearing the "One Love" armband pitch side whilst reporting for the BBC.
No one is inherently good or evil, it is those who stand for nothing who fall for everything. Unfortunately in this instance the spineless entity is the one at the centre of it all - Fifa.
This is a World Cup that was destined to highlight the inextricable nature of sports and politics. Fifa, Qatar and even sections of the general public were naive to believe the football would cloak over the socio-political issues. Fifa, a Western world established and largely ran organisation and Qatar, an Arabic non-secular state; controversy was as certain as a contentious VAR decision.
If anything I hope that there are players who take a stand during this event. Fifa are a lost cause, there is no point engaging the delusions of Infantino and co. For FAs, players and fans alike however, it presents an ideal opportunity to reflect our inadequacies to one another and uplift those who need it most.
For those who silence costs more than a petty fine or a yellow card.