Qatar 2022: The World Cup is always about much more than the World Cup


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The small coastal nation, unknown to most of the world, hosts a famous soccer tournament. With a growing export economy and the employment of a large number of expatriates, the country is building large infrastructure to host events that take place in its capital. For the host nation, this World Cup is not just an exercise in sports entertainment, but an opportunity to put itself on the map, show its progress and strength, and gain global prestige.

I am writing about Uruguay in 1930, the foundation of the first World Cup. But the same arrangement will hold true for Qatar as the 2022 World Cup kicks off on Sunday. In fact, there is no shortage of differences between now and then. On the individual side, Uruguay played in the opening tournament on the back of winning gold at the Olympics, and won their first World Cup on home soil. Despite Qatar’s expensive and careful development of its national football program, it is not expected to compete or even get out of the league level.

And as the self-evident axiom goes in Uruguay, where other countries have their history, we have our football. Qatar plays in a similar way: “No state, until now, has put sports in general, and the World Cup in particular, at the heart of foreign policy and economic development” like Qatar, who football historian David Goldblatt recently wrote. Half a century ago, the former British protectorate was a rare fishery in the Persian Gulf, known for pearls and little else. But the huge wealth in hydrocarbons, especially hot gas, changed its fate, undermined its rise as an influential regional power and registered it for the 2022 competition.

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Qatar’s ruling monarchy gave a generation of political capital and the organization of the Middle East and Arab countries the first World Cup. He launched an incredible $220 billion construction project, combining new stadiums, roads, subways, hotels and other infrastructure. He resisted the anger of the governments of the neighboring Gulf countries, whose anger about Qatar manifested itself in 2022 under the broad economic and political blockade of the country between 2017 and 2021.

Political controversy surrounds the World Cup in Qatar

He went through what the Emir of Qatar described as an unprecedented level of scrutiny and humiliation before the tournament.. Activists and journalists have exposed the financial records of Qatar’s royal family, investigating human rights, the harsh working conditions associated with its large corporations, the plight of LGBTQ people and the negative dialogue surrounding Qatar won the World Cup for the first time.

In all these areas, Qatari officials have pushed back, accusing critics of falsehoods when it comes to reporting the number of migrant worker deaths and hypocrisy when criticizing the exodus. Qatar’s politics and society. There is also no clear evidence linking the Qatari authorities to any fraud or involvement in the bid for the 2022 World Cup – despite several high-profile FIFA officials being implicated in unrelated corruption charges. .

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As the tournament’s 32 national teams made their final bid for Qatar, FIFA President Gianni Infantino – a controversial figure of his own – sent a letter to every team urging them to stay away not to get involved in politics. “We know that football does not live without opportunities and we also know that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature around the world,” Infantino wrote. “But please don’t let the ball get dragged into any ideological or political war.”

That’s easier said than done, some of the participating national teams will be involved in good behavior before the match starts. Members of the US, for example, are among the many groups that trained this week in a group of migrant workers. He will also use the rainbow flag on his crest to support LGBTQ rights.

As the Qatar national championship approaches, the USMNT is using its platform to promote change

In fact, there is no world cup that has not fought the ideological and political battles of the time. The tournament itself is a highly anticipated event on the world sporting calendar, now attracting billions of football eyes and the attention of the global public. They are often a catalyst for the conditions and conflicts that shape the world.

After Uruguay’s exit, the fascist occupation of Benito Mussolini dominated the interwar years, with Italy winning at home in 1934 and again in France in 1938. Italian coach Vittorio Pozzo recalled the negative reaction in Marseille, France, when the Italian army became fascist. . thanks to their first competition in Norway. “I entered the stadium with our players, in military formation, standing on the right,” he later said. “In the place of gratitude, we will meet a lot of insults, insults and claims.”

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As their arms fell, the noisy backlash from the anti-Fascists on the stamp died down. Pozzo then asked his players to make another fascist gesture. “Having won the war of intimidation, we are playing,” he said.

Other forces formed the following competitions. Brazil’s ethnic diversity came to the fore as colonialism swept Asia and Africa, and soon began a cult across the developing world from the slums of Kolkata, India. , to Nairobi Street. Argentina’s 1978 tournament was an infamous publicity stunt for its military dictatorship, which faced boycotts from some European countries. France’s victory in 1998 on home soil with a team from a country with roots in the former French occupation led to a changing European national identity.

The World Cup can also herald a false dawn. International outrage over the Russia 2018 tournament subsided as the tournament began. International journalists and fans, including Today’s WorldView, were impressed by the spirit of joy and openness that enveloped the Russian nation during the tournament, which saw the Russian team advance to the fourth round. But the extremists at the time knew what was coming, as one LGBTQ rights activist in Moscow told me in 2018: “They will kick us right after the World Cup ends.”


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