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World Cup 2022 - a question of morality?

This evening, England kick off their World Cup 2022 campaign with the visit of San Marino to Wembley. As everyone knows, the finals will be staged in the winter in order to offset the problems of summer heat.

But at what cost? The football world was surprised to say the least at the selection of Qatar as the host country but since that decision was announced a furious building programme has evolved to stage the tournament. Whatever the reason for choosing Qatar what can’t be overlooked was highlighted in the Guardian this week. During the building of these stadia, 6,500 workers have lost their lives. These are mostly migrant labourers brought in from South Asia. Health & Safety appears to have purely been a foreign phenomenon.

Last night the Norwegian team made a gesture before their World Cup qualifier to highlight this appalling loss of life. But what about the “home” nations? We are bombarded with political messages every week from anti-racism to prostate cancer. Football is seen as a vehicle for change & education. But surely these worthwhile causes pale into insignificance compared to 6,500 deaths to stage a month-long tournament?

Personally I would have preferred England not to take part - but that would never happen due to the financial gains to be made during a World Cup final tournament. But at what price? 6,500 deaths, 65,000 deaths or 650,000 deaths? Which is the point at which the morality of the situation is bad enough to make the authorities say “Enough is enough”. While football can continue with mere slogans and token gestures it will do so. Football has its roots among working-class factory employees. Yet in Qatar 6,500 seem expendable.

World Cup 2022 will not stop for the deaths of 6,500 construction workers - they are purely collateral damage. But football fans can affect it. I won’t be watching it & will make every effort to avoid buying the products that will pay millions to get their name in front of a worldwide audience. Sometimes, when the authorities don’t act, you have to make a personal stand and say “Enough is enough”.

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Comments

  • Always feels tough to judge other countries cultures, beliefs, rule etc against our own. Views on a great many areas are different all over the world. Who's culture is more right?

    You are, of course, right to be horrified by the construction deaths. I think there was a high but largely unreported death toll during the venue construction for the Beijing Olympics too. Trouble is that is their culture on construction and how in some world markets they remain competitive and give families some income.

    The morality of the next World Cup ended with the bribes taken to award the games to Qatar. Maybe nations will boycott like in previous Olympics? Maybe some will protest against practices illegal in their countries. Maybe nothing will happen at all

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  • I was unhappy about Russia and Qatar. To be fair they did stop attacking gay people in Russia for a couple of weeks and I am sure torturing political opponents, killing gays and oppressing women will be halted in Qatar for the duration of the tournament so Europeans can get bladdered with a clear conscience. Don't a lot of the players have expensive apartments in those oil rich intolerant places?

  • I know they want to rotate, but I think World Cups (and Olympics for that matter) should be awarded somewhere which has the infrastructure already in place at the time of the bid. Even if they wanted to avoid constantly giving tournaments to Europe, how on earth could Qatar be given a tournament before Australia, purely on a practical level? Australia have never hosted one, and would put on a fantastic tournament, even if their time zone is not the friendliest for much of the world.

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  • It's all really depressing isn't it. 6,500 deaths? I've been to every wc since 98 and love it, but for a long time questioned myself giving FIFA my hard earned. They seem hell bent on ruining the pinnacle of the sport we love. I'm not sure I will be able to resist going to Qatar, even though the costs and unappealing atmosphere of socialising in hotel bars offer an easy excuse to salve my concience. My temptation is to go and protest, but at what risk? Being jailed over there I imagine would be the end. The World Cup after that is being hosted across North America with even more teams and a ridiculous format. Irrelevant next to 6500 lives, I know but what a dreary prospect.

    At it's root the World Cup is one of the most wonderful things in life for me. People from different cultures all uniting in celebration of the sport we love. There seems nothing we can do about it as FIFA are unaccountable. Any suggestions of a split seem unlikely as national FAs all have their snouts in the same trough.

    I'm not quite at 'enough is enough' @A_Worboys but can't see any impreovement on the horizon. The FBI operation made little difference. Just replaced crooks with crooks.

  • Having thought more about it, there is no justification for participation. Whilst it may be futile, who is best to petition not to send a team first? THe FA or the government?

  • It's always interesting to see how people suddenly discover their morality in the Middle East. Not when we're bombing it, obviously...or when we're meddling in their politics and selling them arms for them to kill each other. Saudi Arabia bad. Qatar bad. UAE ok....probably because you can buy beer there. But let's boycott the World Cup because dead people. But let's not boycott oil because that would actually hurt the life we live. And let's not think that in the history of the planet the UK has been one of the worst countries in terms of warfare and looting that has ever existed,

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  • I’ve never thought the next World Cup will be played in Qatar and I still don’t.

  • When people realise it's being played over Christmas there'll be......a passive acceptance.

  • @Kim_il_Swan said:
    It's always interesting to see how people suddenly discover their morality in the Middle East. Not when we're bombing it, obviously...or when we're meddling in their politics and selling them arms for them to kill each other. Saudi Arabia bad. Qatar bad. UAE ok....probably because you can buy beer there. But let's boycott the World Cup because dead people. But let's not boycott oil because that would actually hurt the life we live. And let's not think that in the history of the planet the UK has been one of the worst countries in terms of warfare and looting that has ever existed,

    All very fair points. The whole relationship with SA is brushed under the carpet too easily

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  • Agree totally about Saudi. A leadership stuck in the Middle Ages that oppresses its own people, sponsors extremism across the world but has all the oil. If there was ever a good reason to try and find alternatives to fossil fuels...but then Western politicians would not be getting their consultancy fees.

  • edited March 25

    The Middle ages? Homosexuality is illegal. Women can't open a bank account without the permission of a father or husband. Abortions are illegal. That was England in the 1960's. Saudi Arabia isn't in the Middle Ages, just 60 years behind us.

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  • @Kim_il_Swan what do you think the best approach towards is towards Saudi? As in from the UK, and UK voters?

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  • I lived there for a year and my approach was to respect their culture and let them see my culture. It was pretty obvious that young Saudis wanted to modernise and it was just just a case of letting them get on with it. They're getting there. Sort of.

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  • Having said that, Saudi Arabia was even gayer than the RGS.........

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  • @Kim_il_Swan at least we had The Beatles...

  • @Kim_il_Swan said:
    Having said that, Saudi Arabia was even gayer than the RGS.........

    Seems like some of their homophobic culture has rubbed off on you?

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  • @Kim_il_Swan It’s not just discovering a morality because of World Cup 2022 but this is a football forum & this is a big football issue that needs addressing.

    I have my own opinions about the geo-political situation in the Middle East but this isn’t the place to air them. Just one comment I will make - Saudi Arabia gets an easy ride mainly because it owns such a substantial part of the U.K.’s debt.

  • @Kim_il_Swan they locked up a young girl for years for driving a car accusing her of being a terrorist and murdered and dismembered a critical journalist in a foreign country. Present young ruler seems to be reforming very very very slowly. But I get your point finding a squeaky clean nation is tricky.

  • The main things are oil and arms isn't it? Without these trades many people living in South Bucks living comfortable lives...wouldn't.

  • I'm pretty sure 99pc of gasroomer's pensions are partly invested in the above

  • Qatar playing in a European qualifying group is quite clearly a sign of money changing hands.

    'We're qualified, but need you to help us avoid embarrassment. Here's a few million. deny us...and you'll be sorry!"

  • We were always on shaky ground arguing about the choice of venues, obviously the product of massive intrenched bribery, but we joined in with a favour this guy, a facility for this country, a friendly at this stadium.. all to influence voters. OZ and English bids would have cost far less and been far more appropriate and sustainable for these times but that clearly didn't come in to it.
    Likewise interfering in, or seeking to help locals influence abhorrent laws needs to be an ongoing process and can't be done just because you don't like a football tournament being somewhere
    The direct issue however of building stadiums using imported workers (not just respecting usual local customs as stated above) in inhumane slave like conditions despite the obvious vast wealth being flaunted should be abhorrent to all. FIFA if they had anything about them morally or contractually should have sorted this year's and unfortunately hundreds of deaths ago.
    In the end the FA talked tough but decided to not rock the boat in favour of getting a future tournament. I think it was also pretty clear others weren't joining us so it would not end in it being moved.
    I've been to one World cup, would like to see more but was never going to Russia or Qatar and would be quite happy if we sat this one out as a nation. I'm sure others disagree, players certainly would with no guarantee of ever appearing at a World cup again as much as their personal and club sponsor relationships.

  • "FIFA if they had anything about them morally or contractually should have sorted this year's and unfortunately hundreds of deaths ago."
    They have rarely had any morals & even less so these last 20 years or so, to the point that I would give them zero out of ten on the morals front. I would put them way out in front of cycling on the money 1st front! i honestly believe that they have been so corrupt that it would make an African dictator look like Florence Nightingale.

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  • I personally think the whole thing is a sordid, disgusting scam. However, it would be spectacularly hypocritical of England to not take part as a protest when our own government has killed twenty times as many people though its mishandling of COVID-19, and over thirty times as many through austerity.

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  • @Kim_il_Swan said:
    The Middle ages? Homosexuality is illegal. Women can't open a bank account without the permission of a father or husband. Abortions are illegal. That was England in the 1960's. Saudi Arabia isn't in the Middle Ages, just 60 years behind us.

    I’m pretty sure we didn’t have public beheadings in the 1960s

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  • We did have executions in the 1960s though, which is substantively the same thing.

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  • Going to be a struggle to read a worse take on anything today than that

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  • @Chris said:
    We did have executions in the 1960s though, which is substantively the same thing.

    Last ones in 1964 it is true, but I would argue that even then we had a judicial process that offered a defence and tried (and often failed) to ensure said judicial killing was 'justified'. Not sure that is the case even in the present 1960s Saudi Arabia...
    But yes, it is up to the governing bodies to police the behaviour of the nations they hand Word Cups to, but we all know the level of corruption (in every member state I reckon) is staggering and though it would be laudable, the chances of a nation or it's players pulling out is unlikely. As I recall the UK boycott of the Moscow Olympics in the 1980s did not stop our athletes going...

  • I'm not in any way defending public executions or the Saudi Arabian regime. Just reflecting on things we would now consider unacceptable being part of English/British/European/Western culture in relatively recent times. And that's without starting to think about British colonial history with brutal repression as recently as the 1950s in Kenya.

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