IN our home, we have, as a family, been watching the World Cup every four years for as long as I can remember.
One might question, then, why I have chosen not to watch the 2022 tournament currently being held in Qatar
Firstly, we, as principled soccer fans, must ask ourselves to what standard do we hold our game?
And, more importantly, to what standard do we hold those responsible for the management and organisation of the greatest events in soccer?
Whether we like it or not, allegations of corruption have dogged the global soccer organisations in recent times, ahead of the awarding of the World Cup to an oil-rich state.
Secondly, going back to the earliest days of the game, soccer has been the game of the working people, from the slums of London to the modern favelas of Rio.
Soccer has been that spark that has inspired, lifted up and entertained us for generations.
However, now the most elite of our game’s tournaments has fallen into the hands of Qatar, a state that, much like its fellow Gulf dictatorships, has shown disrespect and even abuse of the working people.
The stadiums that are hosting this year’s World Cup were built on the backs of working lass emigrants, many of whom died in their construction.
It is a kind of exploitation reminiscent of the British Empire, when they sent Irish indentured servants off to Australia.
In Qatar, we hear claims that workers were housed in appalling, over-crowded conditions.
How can we, as fans of a sport which for so long has been the game of the working people, support that sport’s greatest tournament being held in such a country? As someone whole loves the sport, I hate to see it disrespected like this.
Thirdly, us as fans must fight to maintain our game’s openness to all people, no matter your gender, race or sexuality.
However, the Qatar state has made it clear that it disagrees with this side of the game.
In Qatar, it is considered a criminal offence to engage in what it calls “sexual immorality”. The punishments for LGBT people in Qatar range from prison sentences that can be 10 years or more, to in some cases death.
These actions have no place in what is supposed to be all the people’s game.
Women are also one of the most oppressed groups in Qatar. They are considered legal minors, which gives them the same status as children. It would be a joke if it weren’t so heartbreaking.
Female fans have tried so hard for so long to be considered the rightful equals of their male counterparts, so what does awarding a World Cup to Qatar say to female soccer fans, other than that you will never be our equals?
Finally, I ask you, all my fellow lovers of this great sport, to take a stand with me and boycott this World Cup.
This tournament is an insult to the game we all love. Our great game deserves a better representative than the Qatari dictatorship.