The ten saddest things about Qatar and the world cup



By Tony Attwood

As the Telegraph says today “More has been spent on this World Cup than the cumulative total of all 21 Fifa tournaments that have preceded it.”  Which is quite a thought to start with.

Qatar isn’t really a country at all.  It is a family where the leader is traditionally deposed by other members of the family while being stupid enough to go on holiday.

And deposing isn’t just a Qatar family habit.   17 of 22 Fifa executive members who engaged in the ludicrous vote to give Qatar the world cup, just so that we would all learn where the country was on the map, “have since been banned or indicted over allegations of corruption” according to the Guardian.

Mohammed Bin Hammam, who pulled it all together for Qatar did the deals with Blatter to ensure that Fifa and those who have tried (and failed) to police Fifa, didn’t have a change of mind, has vanished from the scene.  He was banned by Fifa, and Blatter has gone too.  Michel Platini was caught up in the mire along the way, as you may recall. 

But the real trouble is that each time someone is removed, the successor is even worse.

Yet all this was known before the world cup got underway.  So what has made me even more depressed about world football at the end of the show, than I was at the start?

1: The BBC spent a fortune of public money on showing the games.  I fund the BBC, along with 25 million other people through the licence fee.  Seeing some of that money go to Fifa is awful.

2.  Match fixing goes on.  Despite some media coverage most people still don’t seem to understand the level of fixing involved, from the voting process to the way VAR is used.  Indeed the refereeing has been so dubious that even the referee-adoring English press finally had to make a few comments.

3. But not in England.  Criticism of refereeing is justified when refs are clearly wrong but is never related back to the situation in England by the media.  There are multiple articles on this site about referees.  If you’ve never seen one you could start here.

4. Critcism of Fifa and its corruption remains muted as we have all been encouraged by the media to “focus on the football”

5. Infantino has come through the whole affair unscathed.  Will he dare return to Switzerland to face trial?  I somehow doubt it.  He might just move straight on to the USA and claim diplomatic immunity.

6. Scandals proliferate so much no one bothers any more.  Even the Qatari involvement in the current EU bribery scandal seems to have left the world cup untouched.

7. Bigger and bigger.  The fact that Fifa is now suggesting that the next world cup will be bigger and better and the media is happily accepting this just shows how little progress has been made.

8.  In fact there is no opposition to the continuation of Fifa in the running of football.  Not from the media, not from anyone.  There is no independent assessor or regulator.

9.  The deaths of migrant workers and the exploitation of those who survived is now forgotten.  What now for them?  No one seems to care.  It was yesterday’s story.

10.  The lack of challenge to the Qatari subjugation of women has been pathetic.

So why are the media beyond the broadcasters so taken in by Fifa and its exploits?    Primarily because it gives them lots of coverage at very little cost.   All they have to do is have a junior scribbler watch a match on TV.

As with the anonymous journalist writing in the Guardian who admitted boycotting the world cup, the point is made well.  Don’t think about whether not covering the WC would make a difference, but “think about what would happen if everyone who felt this way” just turned away from the world cup and didn’t cover it.  What if TV suddenly incorporated morality?

Of course Untold Arsenal not covering the world cup save to mention the corruption (which we were doing from the moment of the vote onward), didn’t make any difference.  The TV stations didn’t notice that my TV, when turned on at all, was watching other channels or recordings of “Have I got news for you”

What difference can one person make? The BBC and ITV won’t miss one viewer, and Fifa have already made billions selling TV rights for the North American World Cup in 2026.

But I just did what seemed right.  No matter if no one noticed.  It still seemed right.


7 Replies to “The ten saddest things about Qatar and the world cup”

  1. I boycotted this World Cup, too, Tony, and I don’t think that we were alone.

    The bright spot is that real football starts again in a week’s time.

    Seasons Greetings to you and all Untold readers.

  2. The award of the World Cup to Qatar was made in May (?).
    We were later told that Qatar were informed they had “won” the bid in the preceding January…

  3. I agree with your stance Tony. To honor the 6,000 who died I refused to watch a single match.

  4. Excellent Seismic. Perhaps I might add that being Thursday, “Today I feel like going for a walk” (simply because I usually go walking with the Ramblers on a Thursday).

  5. Questions are being asked about a purveyor of heftily over-priced steaks getting “access” to the Argentinian celebrations after Sunday’s World Cup final. FIFA have said that he shouldn’t have been on the pitch, and that there will be an investigation.

    The Twitter thread where I spotted this (via Tariq Panja), also contained photos of the restauranteur with Mr. (Today, I feel hungry) Infantino.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *